With 210 meetings, it looks like being a good year for pointing, endorsed by Ian Pearse, master of the South Devon, which is moving to a new course at Ideford Arch (17 April).
“With the state of hunting at the moment, many people would think it’s madness to invest in a new course like this, but we’re still investing in point-to-points,” he says.
Tom Scudamore, one of several jockeys who helped with the new track, says: “It’s a lovely course, but it will take some getting. It’s a tough three-mile track.”
A right-handed, flat galloping track, Ideford Arch is adjacent to the A380. There is good access and it is thought the viewing will be excellent.
Devon is also home to Upcott Cross, the second new course for 2006, which will be used by the Eggesford (15 April) and the South Tetcott (29 May). The course is on old pasture belonging to the West Country pointing family of Ken and John Heard.
The track is a 10-11-furlong right-handed circuit, fairly flat with sweeping bends; there is a gradual pull on the far side and a gradual rise to the finishing post.
Bangor Racecourse is home to the third new course, and will stage meetings for the Flint and Denbigh (26 February) and Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn’s (2 April).
A unique feature of Bangor is the absence of a grandstand — viewing is from a bank that offers panoramic views of the track, and this feature should help maintain a traditional point-to-point atmosphere.
The Radnor and West Herefordshire’s new two-day meeting at Cold Harbour (29-30 April) is being billed as a “Festival of Pointing”. There will be six races each day, including the four-mile Crudwell Cup.
The second new meeting is Vine and Craven, which, in addition to its fixture at Hackwood Park, will also be racing at Barbury (18 February).
Novice riders will enjoy extra opportunities as a result of an innovative approach adopted by Cotswold Vale Farmers for its Andoversford meeting (9 April). With the exception of the members’, all races at this meeting will be restricted to novice riders.
On the move
Following the loss of the course at Lifton, the Tetcott moves to popular Trebudannon (14 May). In Wales, the Gelligaer Farmers is moving to Rhydygwern (21 May) and the Carmarthenshire’s meeting will be at Erw Lon (4 March). Meanwhile, Tweseldown will host the Staff College and RMA Sandhurst Draghounds meeting (5 March).
Sadly, the Lincolnshire United Hunts Club and the West of Yore meetings have been lost this year.
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