The Waveney Harriers at Higham – Sunday 21st November

by Graham Bishop

 There is a welcome return of action, for all East Anglian point-to-point enthusiasts. this Sunday at Higham racecourse, with the Waveney Harriers hosting the initial meeting of the new season. After last season’s restrictions there is a full season of twelve scheduled fixtures, through to May next year, with Sunday’s meeting on the Suffolk/Essex border starting at 12 noon.

The Waveney Harriers have taken the opportunity to host this pre-Christmas fixture at Higham following the unfortunate demise of Cottenham racecourse. Entries for the six races are evenly spread throughout the card with the opening race being well supported for the inaugural running of the Jeffrey Bowles Memorial Race in honour of the sadly missed, stalwart of the Waveney Harriers, who passed away last year. As well as being a successful owner, Jeffrey also undertook a variety of duties over more than 30 years at Higham, where at various times he had been Clerk of the Course, Clerk of the Scales and Steward and had also performed the secretarial duties for the Waveney Harriers.

The six race card commences at 12:00 and has attracted entries from near and far, many of their connections having already visited the winner’s enclosure this season. Regular visitor, trainer Alan Hill, has six horses entered in five of the races, headed by recent winner, Hawkhurst in the Mixed Open, and previous course winner, Normofthenorth who notched up four victories last season, and is entered for the PPORA Club Member’s Conditions race.

Bradley Gibbs (with 4 wins) and James King (with 3 wins this season) have possible rides in the Intermediate race, and could be joined by Luke Humphrey who achieved his first career win at the recent Revesby Park fixture on Cave Queen, on whom he could be reunited.

William Featherstone’s riding career started well, winning on his third ride aboard Minella Beat around this course in April, and this horse can be found amongst the entries in both the opening Conditions race and the Mixed Open.

James Owen usually has his string ready early and has last season’s High Easter Restricted winner, Fiddler of Dooney, entered in the Intermediate race, whilst he also has a new recruit in the ex-Willie Mullins trained Pont Aven which is entered in both the PPORA Club Members’ race and the Mixed Open.

Other recent recruits to pointing who feature amongst the entries are The Cashel Man and Precious Cargo who were both in training with Nicky Henderson, whilst the ex-Dan Skelton trained Loughan could make an appearance in the Maiden race for last season’s leading trainer Tom Ellis.

 The course has an excellent covering of grass and with the lack of any appreciable rain, leading up to the meeting, the advanced going is currently described as “ Good to Firm, Firm in places”.

There will be tradestands and catering outlets in attendance and following the success of the layout for the Covid restricted meeting, last April, the amendments will remain for this and the January meeting. The paddock will be situated alongside the rails, presenting a more compact layout, to the benefit of owners, trainers and spectators alike, to enjoy the day’s racing.

 Higham is just to the west of the A12 between Ipswich and Colchester using the B1068 turn-off towards Stoke-by-Nayland, post code CO7 6NG.

Under 16s are admitted free while advance tickets for adults, priced at £13 per head, are available until midnight Friday 19th November from – a £2 saving compared with what you will pay on the gate on the day. Cash and card accepted at the gate, with card preferred.