PREVIEW OF THE WAVENEY HARRIERS MEETING AT HIGHAM ON SUNDAY FEBRUARY 11th
By Graham Bishop
The point-to-point fraternity have endured a sombre period since the news broke that West Country-based Keagan Kirkby had unfortunately lost his life, after suffering a fall, in a race at Charing in Kent, last weekend. Keagan had ridden at all three meetings held in East Anglia, this season, winning on Imperial Esprit at Horseheath on December 31st, which was his 6th career success, including one walkover. From all of us in the East Anglian area we offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family, many friends and colleagues.
The ’show must go on’ phrase will ultimately follow, from this tragedy, and the East Anglian season resumes at the popular Higham racecourse situated on the Suffolk/Essex border. The action on Sunday starts with pony racing from 11am with the first of six steeplechases commencing at 12 midday.
This is the first of two meetings to be held at Higham this season, the other is on Good Friday, and is hosted by the Waveney Harriers fixture with a card comprising of three Conditions races, a Mixed Open, a Maiden and a Restricted contest.
The opening race, the first of the Conditions races, is for horses owned and trained within immediate family members. There are seven entries of which the two to travel the furthest for this contest are Ballymoy and Silver Sheen, both of whom ran promising races on their seasonal reappearances.
The second race is being run as a PPORA Club Members Conditions race for which eleven entries have been made. One horse has winning form this season, namely Oscar Montel, who won the Lord Ashton of Hyde’s Cup at Cocklebarrow over an extended 3 ¾ mile trip.
Whilst several have shown form on stiffer tracks, both Slievegar and Pont Aven have won at Higham. Slievegar won an Intermediate race at this fixture last season beating Josh The Plod into second and then returned for the Easter fixture, finishing second to How To Get Away. Pont Aven won an open race at this track in 2022 before contesting the Cheltenham and Aintree Hunter Chases later that season, but failed to show similar form last year.
The Mixed Open race has Wagner, last season’s winner, amongst the entries. He would arrive here in top form having already won three races this season, including a victory at Cocklebarrow last time. Castle Trump won a competitive Men’s Open race at Ampton but was pulled up at Charing, last Sunday. Both I K Brunel and Not That Fuisse had winning form in hunter ‘chases last season and The Big Lense won a handicap ‘chase at Aintree. All three have had outings this season and will look to progress on the sounder surface.
Several of the entrants for the PPORA Club Members race for novice riders have already met in previous editions, most recently at Horseheath where A Toi Phil finished 4th, Knight Bachelor 5th, and Killinkere unseated. Oscar Montel also features amongst the entries for this race, as does Poli Roi from the yard of Tim Vaughan. A successful visit to Ampton last month gaining victory in a Veteran Conditions race will hope to be replicated.
Entries for the Maiden race includes horses that have been running over the shorter trip of 2 ½ miles, including Top Man Tom and Our John who both ran at Cocklebarrow, Prohus Yank who ran in such a race at Larkhill whilst Just Our Milly has been running in point-to-point flat races, over 2 miles. Three have been entered by Tim Vaughan, and regular visitor, trainer Alan Hill is represented by Barry Scott, last seen in a race in May 2022.
The concluding Restricted race is possibly the most interesting race on the card, with six of the entrants having won last time out this season. Burtown won a Maiden race at Alnwick in December and Caballo Diablo won the Restricted race at Cocklebarrow. Another two winners from the fixture at Cocklebarrow were Threeunderthree who won the 2 ½ mile Maiden race and Mini Fortune who won the 3 mile Maiden race, thus making it a total of five winners from that meeting being entered at Higham. The other two winners are Ocojohn who won his Maiden at Milborne St Andrew and Fine Investment who won a Hunt Members race at Wadebridge. In addition to these we have Escoltador who won on his final outing in 2022 but has not been seen since and Mount Pleasant who ran a promising race at Ampton when finishing 5th, beaten 13 lengths to Paper Mill, who subsequently won again, at Garthorpe, last weekend.
Admission Adults £15 ( cash only)
Early bird tickets are available until midnight Saturday 10th February via the website www.highamraces.co.uk where Adult admission is £13, a saving of £2 on the gate price. Accompanied children, 16 and under, are admitted free ( no ticket required). Dogs on leads welcome.
Various tradestands, catering outlets, public bar (cash) and local bookmakers in attendance.
Higham racecourse is situated midway between Ipswich and Colchester and fully signposted from the main A12 ( SatNav CO7 6NG)