You do not have to be Bernie Ecclestone to appreciate the importance of sponsorship and marketing to the commercial success of a sport, and although amateur in status, point-to-pointing is no different.
With the finish line of the current season creeping ever closer I would like to think the sponsors — including AGA, Bonhams, Connolly’s Red Mills, Dodson & Horrell, Doncaster Bloodstock Sales, Fuller’s, The Jockey Club, Subaru and the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association — all feel they have received a good level of publicity for their investments.
A number of these sponsors have run a series of races through the season, culminating in a final for their respective divisions. Some of these have already been held — such as the intermediate and men’s open point-to-point championship finals at Cheltenham recently — while some will take place at Stratford at the end of the month, including the ladies’ open championship final and restricted series final.
Finding the true champion
I am a great supporter of these series and think they add an interesting competition element through the season, but I do feel the race conditions of a number of the finals lend themselves to an anticlimax. Sex and age allowances permitting, in my opinion the finals should be run without penalties or rider claims, so the champion racehorse to come out of their respective series can be identified. Unfortunately, the way many of the finals are framed does not allow for this and I think the conditions need to be reconsidered.
After all, put a stone of lead in Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes each race and he would struggle to win the F1 championship.
Ref: Horse & Hound; 14 May 2015