Pointing's calendar is refreshed for a post-lockdown world, but when?

26-January-2021
26-January-2021 15:47
in General
by Admin

Sterling efforts have been made to rejig the Point-to-Point fixture list in the wake of the latest lockdown. The Point-to-Point Authority, headed up by the indefatigable Peter Wright, one-time secretary of the Combined Services fixture, has moved Heaven and Earth to create a sustainable fixture list from the end of February - the earliest realistic restart time. 

To date, of the 170 fixtures scheduled at the outset of the season, just 8 have taken place, where one might reasonably have expected a majority of the 24 scheduled to have been staged. Add to this a tranche of 30 wiped out in January and February where no prospect of easing of Coronavirus restrictions is envisaged. On top of this, a further 37 hunts have withdrawn their fixture application due to an inability to comply with Covid protocols or the prospect of losing money.

This leaves a maximum of 89 fixtures - weather permitting - if racing is permitted to restart on February 21, forging a fixture list in which plenty have joined forces in joint meetings, moved date and generally shown great flexibility to sustain the sport and the revenue it brings to organizing hunts.

Some areas of the country have been particularly badly hit. Wales is one such, full of enthusiastic owners, riders and trainers, but yet to stage a fixture this season, and without sight of one before the Llangeinor on April 3rd. The South-East is also badly hit, and the halving of the fixture list still relies upon the Chiddingfold, Leconfield & Cowdray finding a new home after the permanent closure of Parham. 

Does this matter in the great scheme of things? Well, yes it does, because running fixtures acts as a stimulus to participation in that area. The South-East is one case in point, where so few horses are now trained for Pointing, and this also feeds into demand for mainstream Rules racing. Aside from Gary Moore, the number of prospering National Hunt trainers in Sussex and Kent is alarmingly modest. The two factors are inextricably linked.

 Parham - another course disappearing in 2021

East Anglia is a region with some considerable enthusiasm for the sport. The loss of Cottenham's early season fixtures that supplied good ground was an early blow, and the 5 remaining fixtures constitutes a small rump.

Yet in National Hunt racing's backyards, in the South West, Midlands, Yorkshire and Borders, heads are bent ready for the long pull to keep the show on the road, whether behind closed doors, as seems likely for at least the first month of any restart, or with limited spectators. 

But perhaps the most vexatious of issues is the inability to stage the 68 Open races before qualification for the Cheltenham Foxhunters. The marquee event of the season needs fresh blood each year to rejuvenate the pool of horses competing at the top level of the genre. Although the race conditions have been amended to include the first four in any Open race to date, I suspect the number of new entrants to the race this year will be low, and with it, the market surrounding the race. The weather is sure to play a hand in compromising the chances of others who've been forced down the Hunter Chase route. In the latest Cheltenham odds, check out the number of horses in the race for the first time. 

With little sign that an end to lockdown is anywhere in sight just yet, these are our most optimistic predictions. The reality is both a large contraction of the number of fixtures, and with it, a resultant drop in the number of horses competing this season.

Next Event

When?

Season curtailed. Come racing back next winter

 

 

 

 

 

Where?

Barbury, 3m N of Marlborough, off A346, Jn 15 M4

 

Latest News

Pointing's calendar is refreshed for a post-lockdown world, but when?

26-January-2021
26-January-2021 15:47
in General
by Admin

Sterling efforts have been made to rejig the Point-to-Point fixture list in the wake of the latest lockdown. The Point-to-Point Authority, headed up by the indefatigable Peter Wright, one-time secretary of the Combined Services fixture, has moved Heaven and Earth to create a sustainable fixture list from the end of February - the earliest realistic restart time. 

To date, of the 170 fixtures scheduled at the outset of the season, just 8 have taken place, where one might reasonably have expected a majority of the 24 scheduled to have been staged. Add to this a tranche of 30 wiped out in January and February where no prospect of easing of Coronavirus restrictions is envisaged. On top of this, a further 37 hunts have withdrawn their fixture application due to an inability to comply with Covid protocols or the prospect of losing money.

This leaves a maximum of 89 fixtures - weather permitting - if racing is permitted to restart on February 21, forging a fixture list in which plenty have joined forces in joint meetings, moved date and generally shown great flexibility to sustain the sport and the revenue it brings to organizing hunts.

Some areas of the country have been particularly badly hit. Wales is one such, full of enthusiastic owners, riders and trainers, but yet to stage a fixture this season, and without sight of one before the Llangeinor on April 3rd. The South-East is also badly hit, and the halving of the fixture list still relies upon the Chiddingfold, Leconfield & Cowdray finding a new home after the permanent closure of Parham. 

Does this matter in the great scheme of things? Well, yes it does, because running fixtures acts as a stimulus to participation in that area. The South-East is one case in point, where so few horses are now trained for Pointing, and this also feeds into demand for mainstream Rules racing. Aside from Gary Moore, the number of prospering National Hunt trainers in Sussex and Kent is alarmingly modest. The two factors are inextricably linked.

 Parham - another course disappearing in 2021

East Anglia is a region with some considerable enthusiasm for the sport. The loss of Cottenham's early season fixtures that supplied good ground was an early blow, and the 5 remaining fixtures constitutes a small rump.

Yet in National Hunt racing's backyards, in the South West, Midlands, Yorkshire and Borders, heads are bent ready for the long pull to keep the show on the road, whether behind closed doors, as seems likely for at least the first month of any restart, or with limited spectators. 

But perhaps the most vexatious of issues is the inability to stage the 68 Open races before qualification for the Cheltenham Foxhunters. The marquee event of the season needs fresh blood each year to rejuvenate the pool of horses competing at the top level of the genre. Although the race conditions have been amended to include the first four in any Open race to date, I suspect the number of new entrants to the race this year will be low, and with it, the market surrounding the race. The weather is sure to play a hand in compromising the chances of others who've been forced down the Hunter Chase route. In the latest Cheltenham odds, check out the number of horses in the race for the first time. 

With little sign that an end to lockdown is anywhere in sight just yet, these are our most optimistic predictions. The reality is both a large contraction of the number of fixtures, and with it, a resultant drop in the number of horses competing this season.

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