It says something for the tenacity of Pointing folk that this season has begun at all in the extraordinary circumstances in which we find ourselves. A creative approach to the earlier start of the season allowed 3 fixtures to get underway at the end of October, usurping Cottenham's usual start to the season, before the latest Covid lockdown called a halt.
But encouragingly, despite the difficulties of staging race fixtures behind closed doors, or with restrictions applied by the British Horseracing Authority to comply with Covid protocols, there will be plenty of Point-to-Point fixtures to enjoy over the coming months.
Sadly Cottenham will not be among them, with too much uncertainty surrounding the three early dates that are already concluded before many have even begun their planning. Sharing a fixed cost between three fixtures, two involving hunt clubs, puts too much additional risk on the last man standing after Covid and weather abandonments are taken into account.
However, enthusiasts for the sport need not fear. The East Anglian season will start at Horseheath on Saturday January 30, followed by 8 further fixtures to the start of May at venues as diverse as Higham and Northaw.
The two fixtures at Ampton for the Dunston Harriers and Suffolk have consolidated into one on Saturday March 6, whilst High Easter will take a similar approach, staging just the Essex With Farmers & Union on Saturday April 10.
Subject to the prevailing economic and Covid conditions, there may yet be further changes.
Despite this, there has been a reassuringly constant application for Hunter Certificates which augurs for a competitive season ahead providing we can all keep well.
Through this blog over the next few months, we hope to keep you appraised of news around the area, specifically around Pointing but also a wider perspective on National Hunt racing in East Anglia. You can also keep abreast of local Pointing news on the Area site.
Enjoy your racing!