22 January 2010 Pub Team Preview: Waveney Harriers - Higham
by The East Anglian Pub Team
The East Anglian Pub team have provided us with a comprehensive round-up of the best bets at this weekend's Waveney Harriers at Higham.
11.30 am. Hunts Club Members - 7 entries
It looks like it is only going to be a small field for the opening race. Bob Justice won the North Norfolk Harriers Members here last year by 35 lengths. Henry's Pride won a Mens Open and was placed three times in Ladies Opens when campaigned last year outside East Anglia. Itsallupintheair is consistent and may run well if fully wound up. Jack Ford won his Maiden last year at High Easter but will probably struggle with the best of these. Nokimover is a smashing horse who is consistent but may also struggle in this. Supreme Sir won this back in 2008, but has not managed to win since; similar to ThatmakestWoofus whose last win was in 2008.
Selection: Henry's Pride (Bob Justice)
12.00 noon. PPORA Club Members - 29 entries
This is a quality race with a number of highly rated ex National Hunt stars vying with some tried and tested Pointers, mixed in with a number of casualties on the road to recovery.
The Stearn yard have three entered of which Big Rob, a Huntingdon specialist who looks ideally bred to make a name for himself in Pointing and is sure to feature and Forget the Ref, a former Higham winner, has already run very creditably this season.
Just Talking won four out of four between the flags in 2009 and if running will surely be in contention but probably will not represent much value. Stable companion Why Connie also has good Point-to-Point form but injured himself in 2009 so may not be fully wound up for a race of this calibre. Rydal Park was the Kemp stable star in 2008 but last season was not quite firing on all cylinders and it will be interesting to see how he kicks off the 2010 season. The Crow/Burton connection is often seen in East Anglia at this time of the year and in Sweden they certainly have a lively contender for the race if he retains the ability shown last year. Finally, and perhaps the most interesting is Ungaro a former Class One winner under Rules; recent form has not been strong with problems in the jumping department much to the fore, but if time in the hunting field has freshened him up his class could easily destroy this field.
Selection: Just Talking (Ungaro)
12.30 p.m. Mens Open - 26 entries
A good entry which includes many of the regions' top performers from the last two years, two early season winners from Cottenham, and some interesting contenders from further afield.
Cedrus Libani is on a hat-trick following facile success in both Mens Opens run at Cottenham in December. Two of his adversaries from Cottenham, Ballybough Jack and Caveman could re-oppose and both should improve from their debuts. The other victor from Cottenham is The Railway Man who won the Novice Rider's race easily, giving Jack Quinlan a win on his first ride. The established East Anglian performers include Rydal Park, Took My Eye, Where's My Baby, Another Dude, Coat of Honour, Caveman, Star Double and Bonne Noel's. Of these only Where's My Baby and Caveman have run this season, Where's My Baby performing the better of the two, finishing second to Start Royal giving weight.
Rydal Park won his Maiden on this course but most of his subsequent races have been on staying courses. Both Took My Eye and Another Dude have a good record at Higham; they met at the Easter meeting when Took My Eye came out on top, but needs a sound surface to show his best. Coat of Honour finished second, a neck behind Caveman on his debut last year, then won a Hunter Chase and finished second in another at Fakenham. Bonne Noel's won a Ladies Open at Higham, a Men's Open at Brafield and then a Hunter Chase at Fakenham. Star Double finished third in a Hunter Chase at Huntingdon last year; this was preceded with a second to Caveman in a Men's Open at Ampton.
Whistling Straits was disappointing last season compared with his fine season in 2008, although he did finish third in a Leicester Hunter Chase, ahead of Rydal Park. The Accordion Man won two and finished second three times last season. Just Talking progressed throughout last season, winning four races, commencing with a Maiden win at Chaddesley Corbett in February through to an easy win in an Intermediate at Maisemore Park at the end of March. Jumbul Sale won at the corresponding meeting two years ago but has not run since.
Andrew Nick won a Claiming Chase for N. Twiston-Davies at Ayr in April, whilst Launde won a 2 mile Handicap Chase at Wincanton in April for C. Gordon. The King Of Angels the winner of three races for JJ O'Neill, finished second in the "Summer National" at Uttoxeter in June. Finally, a mention for Garundi, who competed early in his career against the likes of Big Buck's and Master Minded, when trained in France.
Selection: Cedrus Libani (Just Talking)
1.05 p.m. Ladies Open - 24 entries
Given the quality of the entry, this has the potential to be one of the best Ladies races in EA for some time. Ungaro has the best recent Chase form having finished second to Big Fella Thanks in the Sky Bet Chase last January; after a couple of poor runs he was sold for £20k in May. He has a tendency to jump right so Higham is not ideal. Cedrus Libani has really taken to Pointing seemingly enjoying the slower pace and easier fences and winning as he liked in both his starts. Big Moment has also won both times out this season and should go well again though this will be tougher. Petit Lord put in two solid performances behind Big Moment but will have to be ridden more positively to reverse that form.
Classy Full House travelled and jumped well at Cottenham before tiring and finishing a distant third, he should come on for the run. Scotland Yard is unbeaten in the Points he has finished, is still only seven, and may well have improved since last year; if Clare Allen takes the ride he should be respected. Montevideo had decent Rules form for Jonjo O'Neill and beat Scotland Yard fairly easily when they met at Bangor, albeit 2yrs ago; a moody type, he appeared to tire quickly at Cottenham but should come on for the run.
Most of the others are best watched including: Beet De Bob who won impressively here in 2008 but was absent last season; Full Irish as the Turner horses tend to perform better later in the season; Roaringwater ran once last season beating Big Moment; Which Pocket who is seemingly on the decline and Whistling Straits who had a tough time in Hunter Chases last season. Assuming Cedrus Libani runs in the Men's Open, the selection is:
Selection: Ungaro (Scotland Yard)
1.40 p.m. Open Maiden- 41 entries
A massive entry of 41 and with a safety factor of 15 this race is odds on to be divided on the day. That is going make selecting the winners doubly difficult.
After his run at Cottenham on December 28th (beaten a neck by Mr Johnson), Mad Jack Duncan must be given a very good chance of breaking his Maiden tag here. Formerly with Alan King, he never showed a lot under Rules, but appeared to take well to Pointing and hails from Alan Hill's Oxfordshire yard who do well with their forays into our region. Dan Maguire was second on his Pointing debut at Eyton On Severn beaten three-quarters of a length behind Pack Drill but then fell on his next outing; he was placed in two Worcester Hurdles beaten a maximum of 3 lengths in June last year when trained by Tom George and must be one for the notebook.
Mister Tibbs hails from Ken Hutsby's Warwickshire yard and they do very well with their Maiden runners; he has run twice this season, pulling up at Black Forest Lodge then finishing 20 lengths behind Inner Steel when fifth at Cottenham. Rockfield was placed second on his final three runs last season, but disappointed on his first run this season at Cottenham when pulling up in Mad Jack Duncan's race; if bouncing back he should run into a place. Shales Ay Jay was placed four times from five starts last season and hails from a good yard; appears to have stamina limitations, however, this one of the easiest courses in the country alongside Brafield. Another with question marks over his stamina is Heynewboy; he finished second last season at Penshurst on his final run, beaten 3 lengths behind Dane Run and could go close if putting his best foot forward.
Castleconner Lad was placed on all his six outings last season; a placing must be a certainty in which ever division he runs. Cavanquarter was placed second on his final run last season when beaten two lengths by Finnow Shan at Northaw; he was quite consistent last season and could make the frame again. Broken Beau is now with Joe Turner's Ampton stable, but was formerly trained by Henry Daly and was placed third in a Bangor Bumper early in his career and was fourth to Weird Al beaten just over eight lengths in a Warwick Hurdle in November 08; the yard's runners usually need their first outing however. Trenley Lawn was placed on her final four runs last season but only beat four horses in those completions. Salsero was placed three times under Rules when trained by Lucy Wadham including a second at Plumpton in December 08 behind Lutin Collonges, but was well beaten on his final appearance under Rules in March last year at Fontwell.
Batalov has been placed six times in 15 Irish pointing starts; he last ran in one in October 09 and could again get a placing here if fully fit. Three Chords looks the most interesting of the unraced horses hailing from Gerald Bailey's stable but will probably not be able to trouble the principals here today and could be one for the future. Fitness will be the key here and we recommend a visit to the paddock to check on the horses before parting with your cash, as many people will have been held up by the wintry weather. With a division inevitable, we'll just give four horses that we feel should go well rather than give a winner and next best.
Selections: Mad Jack Duncan, (Dan Maguire)
2.15 p.m. Intermediate - 17 entries
From a still mainly unraced (this season) entry list, 6 yr. old Shales Army stands out as not only warranting a Weatherbys Star but having won a Short Maiden (v. easy) and Restricted at Tabley under Richard Burton in 2009, he should go close. 11 yr. old Jazz Attack unseated rider in a Folkestone Hunter Chase but rated to romp an Intermediate by Mackenzie & Harris (can't quite see why from previous form) but may prove useful.
Ballynonty is suited by fast ground and although a Hunter Chase second to Took my Eye at Huntingdon in April should be discounted due to the probable ground. Jewel Song was a 10 length second in a Kingston Blount Intermediate in May on good ground following a 20 length win over My Best Buddy (disqualified for loss of weight cloth) and a further 12 lengths over Bering Gifts in a Novice Rider Club Members. Top Boots hails from the revered Marriage stable - another single 2009 run with a second in a Cottenham Intermediate. Start Royal, another with a Weatherbys Star, had a 5lb advantage but only beat Where's My Baby by a short head at Cottenham in December but should be in the frame on this form. Maranach should also be in the shake up with a close second to Posh Dude in the Intermediate at Chaddersley Corbett in December although the time was somewhat slow.
If Sweden, from the well known Rucker stable, makes the trip he will be worth watching but may want the run before progressing.
Selection: Maranach (Start Royal)
2.50 p.m. Restricted - 26 entries
Many of the horses are unfamiliar with the Higham course. Of the 26 entries, Clande Boye is the only to have been placed on this course; the Kim Gilmore trained horse won a confined 5yo+ maiden at Dingley in May, after two second places at Higham and Kimble last season. Baraka de Baune was first placed between the flags in a Confined Maiden in 2006, after several attempts through the seasons, and finally won a Maiden at Guilsborough in April 2009 by a head.
Esprit de Cognac beat 4-5 favourite Slavedriver to win a Maiden at Paxford in March 2008, but has managed to make the top three between the flags since. Fresh Fruit, trained by Sheila Crow, had a reasonably successful 2009 season in the Maiden class with a third place in March, two second places in April and finally got a first place in May, albeit that in two of these races, he was one of only two finishers. Mandalay Bay has had several attempts at the Restricted class with a second and a third at Easingwold in consecutive months in 2008; after that, he went off 9-4 favourite but only managed fourth place and hasn't managed to register since.
Raddichio has been placed many times in Restricted class including second places at Larkhill and Hackwood Park towards the end of last season; he seems to perform well on firm ground. Oscar D'Angron finished second last season in the Restricted at Garthorpe in May, fifteen lengths behind Fergal O'Brien trained Babysitter, despite starting as 6-4 favourite. Lotta Presents' only place between the flags was second in the Restricted at Cottenham at the start of the season, at odds of 4-1, he finished a just a head behind the 16-1 Posh Dude in a dramatic finish. The unplaced favourite of that race, Oscar D'Angron (Fr) pulled up.
Selection: Lotta Presents (Raddichio)