William Fox-Pitt says . . .

“The unbelievable helpfulness of the organising team [at Rolleston] created a fabulous atmosphere. They accepted late entries and let riders substitute horses at the withdrawal stage.

“Why can’t riders book three spaces and name the horses nearer the time? This would . . . enable riders to give essential runs to the right horses.

“[And] the entry fee really ought to be refundable, less a 20% handling fee, if a horse is replaced by one on the waiting list.”

Pammy Hutton says . . .

“We are sending partnerships from our yard to unaffiliated competitions, and they say that these seem to be more fun.

“They often have championships of their own, are well-organised and with a relaxed atmosphere. It may be my imagination, but even the judging is more encouraging.

“While trying to raise our game at the top end of our sport, we must not forget to boost the other end. Day tickets from BD are the first step towards affiliation, minus the commitment.”

Ian Balding says . . .

“There has been much debate in the racing world since Ascot announced it may have to find a temporary home for the Royal meeting in 2005. Four tracks have submitted applications

“Cheltenham for me is the 50-1 outsider. Newmarket would present travel problems and would be 10-1 in my book, while York is no shorter than 2-1 against for me.

“Newbury, in my opinion, would be first choice from the horses’ point of view. It is even money in my book.”

Nigel Peel says . . .

“A red coat and white whip does not make a hunt servant. Captain Ronnie Wallace believed it was vital to keep up standards and that there should never be an excuse for mediocrity. However, the maintenance of standards . . . is becoming harder and harder to achieve.

“Perhaps the time has come for the Masters of Foxhounds association to consider a bursary and/or training programme for those wishing to enter hunt service? Most countries do not get any easier and the best-trained staff are a necessity.”

  • Do you agree with the columnists’ views? Why not have your say in the HHO forum or write to: The Editor, Horse & Hound, Kings Reach Tower, Stamford Street, London, SE1 9LS