It is good to be back pointing and, three weekends into the new season, there are already plenty of talking points to get stuck into.
The obvious place to start is with the number of runners; during the weekend of 24-25 November, three fixtures were scheduled and, while they weren’t on each other’s doorstep, they were still close enough to get people asking questions about fixture planning.
There were a couple of walkovers and three matches of two runners (a turn-off for spectators), but the trainers I have spoken to have given the thumbs-up to the increased number of pre-Christmas fixtures. Of more concern to some were the seven maiden races across the three aforementioned fixtures.
The consensus was that there weren’t enough horses around to run them this early in the season, particularly when the geographical spread of the fixtures left something to be desired. However, to provide some balance, there was also an acknowledgement that the lack of rain has hampered preparations for some trainers.
Demand for going reports
Going reports have also been on the radar, again, but not because of their accuracy. The comments have been regarding their frequency and accessibility. For example, “Is there a going update and where can I find it?” I know where to look, but not everyone does.
The national point-to-point website is the first place to start and it’s encouraging to see organisers are feeding reports through on a regular basis.
There are also numerous social media channels, as well as the Pointing Forum (part of the Jumping For Fun website). I use all of these and I’d encourage organisers to do likewise.
Twitter is particularly effective and offers the potential to reach a lot of people in a short space of time. Using a hashtag also makes information easier to find, and I’d like to encourage anyone posting a going update to use #P2PGoingReport.
Last week, Darren Edwards namechecked in his comment (29 November) the new head honcho at the Point-to-Point Authority, Peter Wright. I’d like to wish Peter all the best in his new role, and I’d also like to pass on my best wishes to his predecessor, Clare Hazell. Clare was always the first person to give me honest feedback about issues raised in this column. It’s good to know that people at the top are looking in.
Ref Horse & Hound; 6 December 2018