A top quality point-to-point field in action at Higham on Sunday
PUBLISHED: 10:39 24 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:39 24 January 2018
A top quality Mens Open Race promises to be the highlight of the North Norfolk Harriers Point-To-Point at Higham, between Colchester and Ipswich, on Sunday, writes James Crispe.
A total of 79 entries have been received for this six-race fixture which gets under way at noon with a 14-entry Open Maiden Race and runs through until 2.55pm when the Countryside Alliance Club Members Race has 13 potential combatants.
Luke Harvey, the ITV Racing pundit and reigning racing broadcaster of the year, is set to take part in his capacity as trainer of Porlock Bay, who is among a classy ten-strong entry for the Mens Open.
Successful in four of his last six races, Porlock Bay has not been seen since beating Full Trottle in a similar contest down in Devon 12 months ago. Full Trottle, who went on to win a pair of hunter chases after that defeat, is again among his potential opponents as is the veteran Brackloon High, winner of this very race in both 2016 and 2015.
But the trainer with the strongest Mens Open hand is Oxfordshire-based Alan Hill. He is responsible for two entries – the fast ground-loving Broken Eagle, unbeaten in five previous visits to Higham; and the six-time hunter chase scorer, Man Of Steel.
Porlock Bay has an alternative engagement in the Ladies Open but is unlikely to find the competition much easier if he turns out there. His 14 possible rivals include last month’s Cottenham scorer, Bound For Glory; the brilliant racemare, Popaway, already the winner of 17 races; and Top Smart, successful in six of his last seven starts between the flags.
Alan Hill has entered another of his stable stars, Hawkhurst, in the closing Club Members Race. A recruit from the professional code, Hawkhurst is the top rated member of this line-up following two smooth recent victories.
But he is far from certain to get things all his own way here with no less than eight of the 15 other entries rated within eight pounds of him, not to mention the exciting Pointing newcomer, Blue Mountain Boy, the intended mount of National Champion Lady Rider, Gina Andrews.
Caryto des Brosses, trained just outside Thetford by David Kemp, may get off the mark in the Maiden Race while the recent Ampton scorer, Steeles Terrace, looks the one to beat in the Restricted Race.
Higham is just to the west of the A12 between Colchester and Ipswich using the B1068 turn-off towards Stoke-by-Nayland, post code CO7 6NG. Admission will be charged at £12 per head with under 17s allowed in for free and racecards priced at £3 apiece.