Point-to-pointing in Ireland will resume this weekend as hunts try to recoup some of the revenue which has been lost during the FMD crisis

Irish point-to-point fans are eagerly counting down the days to the re-commencement of hunt racing activities in the Emerald Isle this weekend. The Route Harriers meeting in Co Derry will kick-off proceedings on Saturday, 29 September.

All Irish horseracing was halted on 27 February due to the foot-and-mouth epidemic in Britain and, even though racing under rules in Ireland resumed on 16 April, the remainder of the campaign was abandoned.

The original fixture list released in July contained 36 meetings, but eight committees have called their meetings off after the recent FMD scares in Leicestershire. All autumn fixtures will be encompassed into the 2002 season.

Stringent disinfectant measures will be in place at all 28 remaining fixtures and, as advised by the Irish Departmentof Agriculture, the procedures include the appropriate exclusion of participants from Britain.

Sean Barry, registrar of the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase committee, explained the thinking behind the new term.

“We did a certain amount of research and came to the conclusion that this was the best option. It will provide an opportunity for promising young maiden winners to get sold before Christmas and will also help to alleviate any potential backlog for next year.

“In addition, countless hunts lost revenue by not staging a meeting and many of them are hoping to redress that situation.”

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