HOME comforts are expected to make the Easterby family key players when the new point-to-point season gets under starter’s orders this weekend.
The Yorkshire Area Point-to-Point Club’s 2014 campaign begins at Sheriff Hutton on Sunday at East End Farm.
Land owner Mick Easterby will once again host the county’s top jockeys and horses on a three-mile course close to his New House Farm yard.
Eight races have been scheduled, the first of which starts at noon, and the Easterbys will be keen to get off to a good start on their own turf.
The veteran Amicelli bids for another big success as a leading contender in division two of a riders’ condition race.
Trained at Scackleton by Mick Easterby’s daughter Cherry Coward, the former Cheltenham Festival Foxhunters winner is set to make his seasonal debut but, at 15, the main question is how much ability remains.
The family also has a number of contenders in the closing two-and-a-half-mile maiden with Bannys Lad, Spruce Up and Billy Two Tongues set to line up.
Jacqueline Coward, daughter of Cherry and the reigning national lady point-to-point champion, will be looking to ride a few winners – particularly Wizadora – and will also be hoping Ath Dara Boru can triumph in division two of the open maiden.
She bought the horse over the summer after it was placed in several Irish points but a tough challenge is expected from Irish Anthem, from leading trainer Sheila Crow’s yard in Shropshire.
North Yorkshire handler Chris Pimlott has a live contender in the men’s open in Schelm.
Formerly trained in Ireland by Ronny O’Leary, he was once rated 140 over jumps at the height of his career. He won seven races and was fourth, 20 lengths behind Sizing Europe, at Leopardstown in 2009.
But Classinaglass, trained by Stephanie Easterby, is expected to show his Cheltenham aspirations, while former Foxhunters runner-up Divine Intervention needs to overcome a year’s absence from the course.
Admission on the day is £10 per person with under-15s free. Drivers with satellite navigation should type the postcode YO60 7TN. Racecards are £3.