David Simpson: Why I still keep going back pointing *H&H VIP*

Opinion

The show is well and truly back on the road and it’s good to be writing this at the end of what looks like a successful weekend for the sport.

Unbelievable weather, a decent amount of runners and a new course were all part of the mix — I’ve already heard some great feedback about the new track at Monmouth Showground.

The course hosted the Ross Harriers fixture and a friend who attended remarked on the impressive size of the crowd, plus there were three races divided on the day, giving racegoers a bumper nine-race card to get stuck into.

The weather and number of runners last weekend led me to consider how I first became involved in the sport. At the time, it was because of my job as business development manager for AGA, formerly a pointing sponsor — although I was immediately drawn to the social side of it.

It’s no longer my job, but I still keep coming back. Why? The social aspect and the camaraderie are huge factors, and I think that is also true for the casual racegoer.

I discussed this with friends recently; they asked if overnight declarations for pointing would attract more spectators.

My answer was a resounding no; it’s a load of tosh. Pointing has its fair share of equine superstars and it’s a great day out, so I would (and do) market it as such. Declarations on the day are just one part of what makes this great sport unique.

Up with the times

I chose to attend Chaddesley Corbett on Saturday, 23 February, for their rearranged Albrighton & Woodland (North) fixture and I was pleased to see e-ticket scanners on the gate.

I’m a fan, although I will acknowledge that there are still occasional IT issues. I’m also a fan of the earlybird offers that some fixtures operate, which offer a discount for tickets that are purchased in advance.

The e-ticket initiative has been around for a while now, although I’d like to see more promotion for it on a national level.

To explain, e-tickets are currently available for the Duke of Beaufort point-to-point at Didmarton this weekend on the hunt’s website. If purchased now they will cost £10 — a bargain — but at the time of writing I cannot find any information about this on the national point-to-pointing website.

I apologise if this information is yet to be added, but I’d like to see it in a prominent place, along with a link to the relevant area website where tickets can be purchased.

I must give a mention to Luke Scott, who rode his first winner last weekend, not long after his horrible fall at Cottenham in December — well done, Sir!

Ref Horse & Hound; 28 February 2019

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