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Waveney Harriers at Higham
Sunday 21st February 2016
by James Crispe

Trainer Andrew Pennock and jockey Dickie Collinson dominated the Waveney Harriers Point-To-Point at Higham on Sunday with a trio of successes courtesy of Play The Ace, Counting Stars and Galros Lady.

The victory of Galros Lady in the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Mares Race was particularly significant, as it was her third of the season, making the six-year-old the nation's leading young horse of the campaign.

And Counting Stars was the most impressive of the triumvirate, drawing fully 15 lengths clear of the chasing pack in the Open Maiden.

For the first hour or so of this fixture, spectators could have been forgiven in thinking that they were experiencing flashbacks of the previous weekend's Cambridge University Draghounds meeting as the winners of both of the first two races had also been triumphant at Cottenham just eight days earlier.

The 'hallucinations' began when Nightscape responded to a positive front-running ride from Charlie Buckle to land the Veteran & Novice Riders Race for trainer Rob Cundy, from Semer, near Hadleigh.

Some 35 minutes later in the Club Members Race, Play The Ace completed a quickfire double of his own to spark the Pennock/Collinson treble as he managed to hold off the late thrust of Susquehanna River by a head.

The runner-up was only a second career ride (and a second near-miss) for jockey Patrick Bullard, from the other East Anglian village of Higham, between Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds. Bullard again looked highly competent in the saddle and should soon be going one better.

Recent Cottenham form was also the key to the Restricted Race as the Warwickshire-trained Sea Current, a winner at that Cambridgeshire venue some seven weeks ago, overcame some crooked jumping to beat The Master Remover by five lengths.

Both The Master Remover and the Mares Race second, Watneys Way, were further representatives of the Cundy/Buckle combination which thus ended the day with an admirable tally of one victory and two narrow reverses.

Course specialist Broken Eagle put up easily the classiest performance of the day when taking his Higham record to a perfect five-from-five in the Mens Open Race. Despite being heavily eased in the closing stages, he still clocked a time that was the fastest of the day by fully eight seconds.

His Oxfordshire-based jockey, Joe Hill (son of winning handler Alan Hill), later reported that this fast-improving eight-year-old will now be aimed at a hunter chase at Stratford on March 14th.

The bookies expected Hill senior to also lift the Ladies Open with Sharp Suit. But the odds-on favourite found Top Smart (trained in Northamptonshire by Jenny Pidgeon) three lengths too strong.

Dual olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton was in in action here, getting around safely in sixth place aboard the 33-1 outsider, Minella Theatre.

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