If the prospect of arctic winds is giving you (dangerously) cold feet about heading out to your local point-to-point this season, we’ve come up with nine very good reasons to sway you to wrap up and get out there
1. Spot National Hunt stars in the making
2. Get up close to the action
Unlike with racing proper, there’s no chance you’ll be corralled into a “cheap seats” area where you’re unlikely to see a horse for the duration of your day. Some of the best viewing is at Littlewindsor, where cars are parked on a slope with the course laid out below. At Trebudannon the whole course is visible from the winning post and at Whittington, near Kirkby Lonsdale, there is a good viewing bank at one end of the course looking down the Lune Valley.
3. Wear your wellies with pride
Cheltenham might mean digging out your best suede boots — but for your local point-to-point, grab the nearest pair of wellies to the front door. Minimal effort required.
4. Cameras at the ready
Point-to-point courses are situated in some of the most picture-perfect country Britain has to offer. Holnicote at its Exmoor location between Dunkery Beacon and Selworthy church stands out, as does Flete Park, on the late Lord Anthony Mildmay’s estate. The course there encircles a cricket ground and the ladies changing room is in the pavilion. Llanfrynach is another one to take note of, with the snow-capped Brecon Beacons providing a stunning backdrop.
5. Celeb spot
Celebrities might don an overcoat and think they can slip into a point-to-point unnoticed. But we’ve sussed out where you’re likely to spot one. David Cameron and Jeremy Clarkson have been seen at the Heythrop, actor Robson Green has been spied at Alnwick and Horseheath had an episode of Made In Chelsea filmed there in 2013 (if that counts…).
6. Prove your picnic prowess
Tables trump rugs, china trumps plastic and anything that needs a knife and fork trumps a sandwich. Or if you want to boycott the competitive picnicing altogether, make your way to the burger van…
7. Limit your financial losses
Your wallet can feel worryingly empty post-racing, but at a point-to-point, placing a £1 bet is entirely acceptable.
8. Entertain your non-horsey friends
With busy bars, children’s rides and tradestands on offer, the most unhorsey of friends (or family) can be kept entertained. The Meynell & South Staffs stage the pony racing finals as well as hound racing; Godstone’s second meeting has sheep showing and High Easter has a big screen for Grand National coverage.
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9. Look forward to soaking in a long, hot bath afterwards
Scheduling a long, hot bath to thaw out post point-to-point is a crucial part of the programme. If hot water supplies are looking dubious, forget reasons one-to-nine — cancel your plans and do not leave the house.