Opinion

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May has now arrived and the end of this much-interrupted season is almost upon us. Frustration abounds at the havoc wreaked by the weather, but that has also prompted debate at all levels in the pointing community about what the future holds for the sport.

We have no control over the elements (and precious little protection from them if fixtures do go ahead), but my recent pointing experience gave me plenty of food for thought when I attended two vastly different point-to-point fixtures (I thoroughly enjoyed both).

The first was at Kingston Blount in Oxfordshire on the Saturday (21 April). It’s an idyllic setting for a point-to-point and one of my favourite venues to visit. It’s easy to get to, the course is well maintained and the quality of racing is good.

On Sunday, we made the long trek to Norfolk to attend a point-to-point at Fakenham racecourse — what a contrast with the previous day. If Kingston Blount attracts what you would call a “traditional point-to-point crowd”, then the make-up of the crowd at Fakenham was noticeably different.

A different option?

This and other things prompted me to ponder whether more use could be made of under Rules courses in certain areas. I fully acknowledge that some of the pointing traditionalists will be up in arms at the mere suggestion, and I understand why, but there’s method in my madness.

I’m not for one minute suggesting that pointing relocates en masse to under Rules courses, I’m merely asking whether it could help some fixtures to survive while also attracting new people — an ongoing battle for all involved in pointing.

At Kingston Blount, the paddock, bookies and course were all within easy reach of our spot in the car park, the only difference at Fakenham being that we based ourselves in the lorry park. Deckchairs and picnic were deployed at both venues; we just had to walk a bit further on Sunday.

One more thing is worthy of a mention. We introduced a new sponsor at Fakenham and he had only good things to say about the experience; in fact, he said that it was one of the best point-to-points that he had ever attended — food for thought?

Ref Horse & Hound; 3 May 2018