New point-to-point season gets underway at Cottenham on Sunday

Point-to-point action returns to Cottenham this weekend.

Point-to-point action returns to Cottenham this weekend. - Credit: EADT Feature

A top class Mens Open Race promises to be the highlight of the Cambridge University United Hunts Club Point-To-Point at Cottenham, near Cambridge, on Sunday – the first of 15 Pointing fixtures to be held in East Anglia over the coming five months, writes James Crispe.

This season-opener has attracted a healthy entry of 93 horses for a six-race card which runs from noon until 2.55pm.

Although most of the action will be over the regular distance of three miles, the card is bookended by a pair of two and a half mile races.

The first of these, the PPORA Club Race, may have to be divided on the day and thus make a seventh contest as it has 26 entries and a maximum field size of 16.

The 19-entry Mens Open comes under starter’s orders at 12.35pm and has the look of one of the best races staged at this popular 86-year-old venue.

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The obvious selection here is Broken Eagle, from the stable of Cottenham’s most prolific winning trainer, Alan Hill, given that he has triumphed in 12 of his 15 career starts between the flags.

However, he is set to face a number of dangerous opponents, such as the Warwick Hunter Chase scorer, Bear’s Affair; Full Trottle, successful in six of his last seven outings; Bay Sly, hero of last season’s Subaru Hunter Chase Final; and Bivouac, a highly-talented recruit from the yard of the Champion National Hunt Trainer, Nicky Henderson.

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Defending champion Bound For Glory is among 14 potential starters in the Ladies Open.

Other interesting candidates are Duke Of Lucca, placed in Graded company over both fences and hurdles when trained under rules by Philip Hobbs, and the veteran Qrackers, who has twice prevailed over this course and distance but not since 2013.

Hawkhurst is another likely winner for the Alan and Joe Hill father-son trainer-jockey combination in the Restricted Race while Full Batten, trained at Exning, near Newmarket, by James Owen, should finally get off the mark in the finale.

Cottenham is four miles north of Cambridge near the B1049, post code CB24 8RG. It is best approached using junction 33 of the A14 and following the orange ‘RACES’ signs.

Take the A10 signed for Ely. Then take the third left (after the Park and Ride and the Recycling Centre) to Landbeach.

Go straight through the village of Landbeach, passing the playing field on your left, and take the first left out the other side. The course is half a mile further down this road.

Admission will be charged at £15 per head to include a free racecard and a donation to the East Anglian Air Ambulance with OAPs and students priced at £13 and children under 17 allowed in for free.

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