For those to whom weather does not matter, a long dry spell in spring is considered a blessing, an entrée to a summer of heatwaves and barbeques. For those involved in point-to-pointing, it can be less than helpful.
As of 28 April the UK had seen just 41% of the average April rainfall measured over the period 1981-2010. I wrote my last column (H&H, 6 April) when “soft” was a regular feature in going descriptions; now “firm” is the order of play. Some courses have been forced to abandon racing, others have watered to produce artificially “good” ground.
With the latter approach, there is a fine line between success (evenly watered ground meaning hooves make a consistent print) and failure (unevenly watered, patchy ground meaning hooves either do not break the surface or disappear up to their fetlocks).
I do not enjoy riding on watered ground in point-to-points. Under Rules it is less of a concern because it is someone’s full-time job to ensure safe racing ground. As a sportsman, I know how uncomfortable running on a changeable surface can be so, as a horseman too, it is hard to banish that thought from your mind as you ask a half-tonne thoroughbred to exert itself.
Add to the mix that the trainer has spent months finely tuning it, that it is the apple of the owner’s eye and they have invested a considerable sum of money getting it to the course.
Like many in the point-to-point fraternity, I am praying for rain so we can safely enjoy the last seven weeks of the season.
Ref Horse & Hound; 4 May 2017