High Easter Racecourse, near Chelmsford, stage the first of their two seasonal meetings on Sunday, with the High Easter Racing Club fixture. The arrival of rain has boosted the number of entries which are spread over an interesting mix of races.
The action commences with a Conditions Race for Novice Riders and includes the winners of several races this year, including Just Cause, Mahlers Spirit, One Fine Morning, Summer Sounds, Vivaldi Collonges and Zeroeshadesofgrey, and would make for a competitive race if they all went to post.
The two-and-a-half-mile Restricted includes Higham Maiden winner Bullsempire, who may benefit from the drop in trip, and Blackwood Rover, who was not beaten far in two early-season Restricteds, whilst the remainder are either having their first run of the season or have to step up on this season's form.
The three-and-three-quarter-mile Men's Open includes three-time course winner Excitable Island, who will relish this trip having won the four-mile hunter chase at Cheltenham last season. He showed his wellbeing by winning a Conditions at Godstone two weeks ago, having finished fourth in a two-and-a-half-mile hunter chase at Lingfield in which Conkies Lad finished second. Mr Maclennane finished a close second in a Conditions over course and distance last season, whilst Follow The Paint won a four-runner Men's Open over three miles around this track last year but has not threatened to win so far this season.
The Ladies' Open could be a cracking race in which Excitable Island also holds an entry should connections prefer the shorter trip. Degooch ran three times last season, winning two Ladies' Opens over three miles but was beaten into third over two-and-a-half miles around this track in another. The ever-consistent Start Royal and Top Smart have been the winners of Ladies' Opens at Higham this season, whilst Teeton Power was leading when slipping on her seasonal reappearance at Thorpe Lodge.
In the Conditions Race for nine-year-olds-and-upwards, several hold engagements in earlier races. Burtredgipandgump and Poyle Thomas, who had a ding-dong battle at Higham earlier this season, could reoppose, although connections of Burtredgipandgump could rely on In A Blue Dust. Daniel Cherriman has had two wins from two rides this season and could be in search of a third winner in consecutive weeks on board Kashmir Peak, having won on him at Godstone two weeks ago. Silvergrove has not been seen on the track since winning his only four races in 2017, having started the sequence at this corresponding meeting, and would be a welcome sight in this race.
The concluding Maiden includes several who were knocking on the door in their most recent races. How To Get Away, Josh The Plod, Occupied, Racing Eagle and Un Huit Huit have all finished second in their most recent outings this season and will be hoping to go one better.
High Easter Racecourse is situated eight miles west of Chelmsford, set in a picturesque location to the south of the village of High Easter (Satnav CM1 4QL).
First race: 1pm. Admission: Adults £12 (under-16s Free).
Retraining of Racehorses Parade after the second race.