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High Easter, 17/3/19

High Easter Racing Club

Not long before the racing began the crowd seemed very small but after the first there were plenty of cars in the main parking area. It just was not clear where all their people were. Having meandered the last miles through to the track through The Shire, perhaps they were waylaid by cannibalistic hobbit footpads and the cars stored for dispersing their valuables on internet auctions later. And all this within sniffing distance of Chelmsford. Who would have imagined?

Going: Good, Good to Soft places
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An example of the eye-catching meteorology on offer today

Race 1: Ernest Doe PPORA Club Members, Novice Riders

1: Back Bar     2: Mahlers Spirit     3: Amigo

Winner owned: Mr R Cranfield, trained: Alan Hill, ridden: Henrietta Cranfield

There was not an absolute rock solid stand-out contender in the line-up, with the race looking to be winnable by Back Bar, Mahlers Spirit or One Fine Morning, plus Amigo if he snapped out of his tendency to raise or lower himself to a placed performance, without regard to the strength or weakness of the opposition. That quartet were playing according to the script when Back Bar blundered four fences out and put himself badly on the back foot. Amigo was the one that chose to take the initiative (take it back, in fact, as he led for the first half of the race). The rest initially did not respond but then began to eat into the short gap but most notably it was Back Bar clobbering the challenge into row Z. Something must be hit, it does not matter if it is physical or metaphorical. By the final fence he was a few lengths to the good and he opened it further before the winning post - giving Henrietta Cranfield her first winner. The effort of Mahlers Spirit was somewhere less than what would be seen if taking his small field Horseheath cakewalk literally and but above marking that as an irrelevance.
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Amigo sets a friendly pace for his chums in the line-up, chased by One Fine Morning (orange) and Back Bar. Ballygrooby Bertie and Postbridge are in midfield, with Mahlers Spirit (hoops) and Clenagh Castle sitting smugly in rear.

Race 2: Hamilton Carpets Restricted, 2m 4f

1: Blackwood Rover     2: Almost There     3: Shamat

Winner owned & trained: B Dowling, ridden: Alex Chadwick

Six went to post for this and half of them were fighting out the victory at the last fence. One that we knew had the ability to win a Restricted, as evidenced by several competitive places in East Anglia, was Blackwood Rose. One we had lost faith in after unseating in this last year and having a losing streak that dates back four years was Blackwood Rover. This race cut up enough to meet the demands of his flaws, and Almost There lived up to his name by being outpaced slightly (but enough) after a good jump two out had let him nose ahead. Despite one run this season already, in which he pulled up, he did look as if there was a tiny bit more fitness to be wrung out of him. In this race last year Shamat was beaten a short head. That appeared to set him up as only having himself that could stop Restricted success coming. He rose to the challenge heroically, having posted form of PURF since. This was again a perfectly decent try. Which way will he allow the balance to tilt for the rest of the 2019 season? It is very tempting to predict letters upon letters. Orchard Hill was disappointing in finishing well back in fourth as although it was his first run this season, he looked fit enough to run to his best.

Race 3: Dengie Mens Open, 3m 6f

1: Big Georgie     2: After Aspen     3: Mr Maclennane

Winner owned, trained & ridden: James Ridley

From the half dozen declarations two stood out in advance. Mr Maclennane was one of them but he ran a fairly anonymous sort of race in midfield. The other was Big Georgie, who had travelled up from Worcestershire whilst his stablemates scattered all over the south for the rest of the weekend. With his main danger below his best, the trophy came into Big Georgie's hands but After Aspen did make him work for it. Three fences out it seemed as After Aspen might have been given a little too much to do but quick progress got him near the leader in ample time. Then he could not fight his way to the front, failing by half a length. He proved his stamina and having been second in both pointing runs, there is likely to be a winnable race lurking in the next couple of months
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Kingston College leads Big Georgie with Mr Maclennane chasing. According To Trev and After Aspen are a touch further back. Aigle De La See is struggling out of shot, or laughing at the weather en route for the Ladies race

Race 4: County Linen Ladies Open

1: Teeton Power     2: Sand Blast     3: In Fairness

Winner owned: Mrs Joan Tice, trained: Elizabeth Harris, ridden: Tabitha Worsley

A race run in a hail storm and thus sometimes it was necessary to protect the eyes rather than track the race minutiae. The aesthetic star turns here were Start Royal and Tirob, both fifteen years old and getting stuck into their racing with undiminished enjoyment. They did their best here, with Start Royal making a bid for glory four out that threatened hard but saw him wilt two fences later. This was like the old days when the presence of UK-Jumping stopped him in his tracks regularly and made it hard to comprehend how he was racking up so much success on other days. As he got older we relented with our curse, so are NOT taking the blame for this loss. Back to the race. From two out younger legs prevailed. After witnessing Teeton Power lose a couple of maidens, UK-Jumping labelled her as a slowcoach who tries and maybe with some room to improve. Since then she has four wins and second place in a Cheltenham hunter chase. Not too shoddy for something apparently spliced with snail DNA. She added one more here but standing just beyond the line it seemed as if Sand Blast had just held on for first, and an overheard comment from Tabitha Worsley backed up that view. Thus it was quite surprising when the judge called Sand Blast the head loser, although nobody was heard quibbling it. With only one career win from two dozen races, Sand Blast could do with some help in such circumstances. In Fairness ran excellently to lose his first race in twenty-two months by only a couple of lengths, just relegating Start Royal to fourth.

Race 5: ROR Conditions, 10 year olds and up

1: Burtredgipandgump     2: Kashmir Peak

Winner owned: Mrs Angela Wright, trained: Nick Wright, ridden: Archie Wright

Only two out of six finished this but it was not the conditions, just that this particular type of veteran did not treat finishing when defeated as a desirable skill. The two that saw it out were only split by half a length at the post, with Burtredgipandgump edging out the prolific Kashmir Peak. The winner was carried to the car park side rail as Kashmir Peak hung right on the run-in, but his nerve held and he won rather than get intimidated and let the Kashmir Peak add one more to his tally of evil. Poyle Thomas, a flat convert who has won this season despite being keener than ideal for staying chases, was setting a good but sustainable pace in front when he unseated at the thirteenth. Maybe on another day the same line-up would all reoppose and do something completely different.
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Left to right the front rank is Flugzeug, Kashmir Peak and Burtredgipandgump and the first. Letbeso is next and after this hairy effort at the first, Poyle Thomas decided that the safest place was out in front.

Race 6: Jackson-Stops Open Maiden

1: Racing Eagle     2: Sandygate

Winner owned: Mrs AJ Long, trained: John Ibbott, ridden: Darren Thomas

Only two out of seven completed and there again seemed no obvious reason other than a handful took the easy, quick way back to unsaddle by pulling up before the final fence. It should have been a tight race, with five priced roughly between 2/1 and 7/2, depending on what time the market was checked. Sandygate was not one of them, so whilst he was beaten fifteen lengths, it was at least a bit sharper than his two previous runs this season. Racing Eagle finished fourth in this race last year, behind Sandygate, but the ensuing twelve months has seen their fortunes flip-flop and Racing Eagle has been second three times already this season. That wellbeing edge showed as he cruised clear from the second last, with lots hoisting the white flag behind him. Broom Tip, opening as the betting outsider but supported into single fingers, ran well to the fifteenth but tied up quickly once headed. Un Huit Huit did well until after three out, but Josh The Plod was never up for it and ceased taking part with a circuit remaining. Drive On Joe and Oakidoki both played between these levels, then opted not to finish.
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