by Dom Bradshaw

Cottenham once again provided the backdrop for the opening fixture of the new season. With mild weather and the going described as “good fast ground”, there were eight well-contested races to enjoy.

Appropriately, it was an East Anglian horse, The Red Boy, that took the first race of the new season, the CHHC Club Members.
Always travelling well for Andrew Braithwaite, the Sporborg trained 10-year-old quickened up nicely to come home three lengths clear of the favourite, The Kings Fling (Polly Gundry), with Pendle Hill (Andrew Hickman) a further five lengths away in third.
The winner tends to put in his best efforts when fresh and all of his four wins have come at Cottenham. While in this frame of mind, he should go on from this.
Both the runner up and the third will come on for the run.
Colonel Conca (Christian Ward-Thomas), a three-time winner in the Northern area in 2003, but now with the Ruth Hayter yard, looked well in the paddock and was well supported in the betting ring, but ran disappointingly and was tailed off when pulling up. He’ll improve for this and this run should probably be dismissed.

Polly Gundry quickly made amends in the Restricted, booting home the ex-Irish Fertile Valley four lengths clear of the David Pipe “hotpot” Oneminutetofive (Ashley Farrant).
The winner, an 8-year-old son of Sir Harry Lewis, jumped well on the whole and has the scope to win more races.
The runner up lost nothing in defeat and looks a restricted certainty, albeit at prohibitive odds.
A distance further back, Jims Belief (George Cooper) just got the better of Hessac (Nicky Tinkler) for third place. Both have a squeak in lesser company.
Teeton Fizz (Andrew Sansome) was never dangerous, but finished fast in fifth and should be noted when reappearing on a more testing track.

The Mens Open saw a winner from Yorkshire in the shape of Guilsborough Gorse. Well ridden by Mick Channon’s pupil-assistant, Mark Walford, and trained by his mother Gill, the nine year old finished strongly to win by two lengths from Cape Stormer (Marcus Gorman) with Hotters (Will Hill) a further two lengths away in third.
The winner’s as consistent as they come and should be knocking on the door once again this season.
Cape Stormer, formerly a decent chaser when trained by Paul Nicholls, looked full of running, but couldn’t catch the winner. He should have little problem in taking a race or two over the coming months.
A poor performer under rules, Hotters ran well above expectations and would only have to reproduce this form to score.
You would have to say that the well-supported Gallant Glen was unlucky, as he was travelling well in the lead when he was carried out by a loose head when turning into the straight at the end of the first circuit. Compensation awaits.
One to take out of the race is Silver Lake (Paul Cowley) who wasn’t far away in fourth. This grey son of Roselier was the top 6-year-old pointer in Eire and a winner of two hurdle races when trained by Noel Chance. This was his first appearance on a racecourse since 2000 and he showed enough zest to suggest that he’ll be back in the winner’s enclosure before too long.

Dusk Duel, a useful hurdler\chaser when trained by Nicky Henderson, made the smooth transition to points, taking the Ladies Open under a confident ride from Jane Williams. Always travelling well, the 9-year-old took up the running three from home from the eventual runner up, Winter Gale (Laura Eddery), and came home clear by five lengths.
This was an impressive performance to say the least and it will take a good horse to lower his colours in this company.
Like stable-mate Guilsborough Gorse, Winter Gale is a model of consistency and ran well enough here to suggest that he can take a race of this type.
Garolo (Susie Samworth) didn’t look all that keen, but plugged on to take third from the fast finishing Buckland Lad (Hannah Grissell), the latter capable of taking a small race on a more testing track.
Sea Tarth (Hannah Kinsey) stayed on through beaten horses and will be seen to better advantage when encountering a test of stamina.
The grand old Scottish raider Balisteros was never travelling for Pauline Robson and was well beaten a long way from home.

David Pipe gained some compensation for Oneminutetofive’s defeat, sending out the French bred Tictac (Tim Eaves) to win the CA Club Members Novice Riders race by 15-lengths from Aughmor River (Rupert Stearne).
Although this was a poor race, the winner, last seen when winning an Auteuil Claiming Chase back in June 2000, did this with ease and should be seen to even better advantage with a bit of cut in the ground. 

Minster Sunshine completed a Yorkshire double, landing the 8-year-old and above Maiden, under an enterprising ride from Nicky Tinkler. Sent to the front early, the 10-year-old held off the late challenge of Morph (Philip York) by three-quarters-of-a-length, the pair a distance clear of Jolly Jake (Ed Walker).
Minster Sunshine stays and jumps particularly well and should have no problem taking a restricted and the runner up looks nailed on to land a Maiden.
Jolly Jake appears woefully one paced but has made the frame on many occasions and deserves a change of luck.
Beat The Retreat (Ed Andrewes) made a pleasing pointing debut in fourth and should be capable of winning a maiden.
House Colours (Niall Saville) was never put into the race, but might be ok in time.

In Division 1 of the 2m4f 5,6 & 7-year old Maiden, Cash ‘N’ Carrots (Andy Martin) and Gray Knight (James Tudor), a 9,000gns purchase out of Henrietta Knight’s yard and were neck and neck at the final fence, but the former took a heavy fall, leaving Tudor’s mount to come home clear of the fast finishing Tooley Park (Andrew Sansome) and Krac De Mirande (Sam Waley-Cohen).
The winner was doing his best work at the end of the race and should be able to find the stamina required now that he is forced to step up to three-miles in restricteds.
Tooley Park wasn’t sighted four from home, but came with a late rush to claim second. This was a reasonable first start for his new trainer\rider and he could take a small race.
Krac De Mirande appeared to blow-up in the latter stages and should come on for the run.
Cousin George (Richard Burton) went out tamely and came in a well-beaten fourth, although it should be noted that he appeared to be carrying plenty of condition.
The unlucky Cash ‘N’ Carrots had shown zero under rules, but did little wrong here. He took a heavy fall, but thankfully only appeared to be winded, much to the relief of spectators and all concerned. If he can recover from this tough start, then he could land a small race if putting his best hoof forwards.

Terimon’s Dream (Julian Pritchard) went off like a scalded cat in Division 2 of the 2m4f 5,6 & 7-year old Maiden, but was a spent force by halfway, leaving sprint-bred Viscount Bankes (Andy Martin) to take up the running and come home fifteen-lengths to the good of ex-Irish Big Brendan (Alex Charles-Jones) and Drumdowney Lad (Philip York).
This was a useful performance by this 6-year-old son of Clantime, but he’ll have to find a little more stamina if he’s to succeed in three-mile events.
Big Brendan should improve for a step up in trip.
Drumdowney Lad did his best attempt to bury Philip York in the paddock and doesn’t look the easiest of rides, but this won’t stop him laying claim to a race of this ilk.
Fourth placed Cimmaroon (Ashley Farrant) was never asked a serious question and will improve considerably for this.
The well-supported Mister Ringa (Andrew Braithwaite) was still to be asked a question when losing his rider.
Potter’s Wheel, a good looking 5-year-old by Elmaamul, was slowly away and appeared to be given a quiet ride by Richard Burton. He should improve for the experience.