Sponsorship will be allowed in point-to-points for the first time this season.

In an effort to provide owners with an optional means of raising funds at a time of escalating costs, the Point-to-Point Authority (PPA) has introduced a horse sponsorship scheme.

“Point-to-pointing has always retained the amateur ethos — no advertising, jockeys not paid and so on — but we need to move with the times,” said PPA executive Lucy Brack.

“Costs are escalating — from training, entering and running horses, to expenses such as fuel prices. Hopefully this will help create revenue that can be put back into the sport.”

Under the scheme, any horse that runs in a point-to-point can be sponsored by a business.

In return, the name of the sponsor will be displayed in the racecard alongside the horse’s name. It can also appear on any rug worn by the horse at the meeting.

Sponsorship will be valid from 1 November to 30 June, and a business can sponsor up to five horses — but each horse can be sponsored only once.

Thetford-based trainer David Kemp told H&H the initiative was a very positive step.

“Yes, it is changing the amateur ethos a bit, but it is not in any way like professional racing,” he said. “Anything that can help owners to pay the bills has to be a good thing in these difficult times — and it’s getting local businesses’ names out and about for relatively small amounts of money.”

The PPA has suggested a sponsorship figure of £450, and there is a PPA registration fee of £45 per sponsored horse.

Ms Brack added: “We hope this initiative will especially benefit owners with one or two horses, as well as small, local businesses who will receive publicity from a legitimate, tax deductible expense.”

For more information visit www.pointtopoint.co.uk

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (6 November, ’08)