I was honoured to be invited to the Fernie Hunt Supporters’ Association annual dinner recently to speak about my racing exploits and career in he saddle.
In a room filled primarily with landowners, farmers and hunting folk, I was reminded how critical these stakeholders are to our sport and how often they do not get the recognition they really deserve.
Without the land to race on — typically farmed through the year with single or, occasionally, multiple race days in mind — point-to-point racing could not take place. Without hunt involvement, usually in the form of volunteer labour before, during and after, point-to-point racing could not take place.
Independent club meetings do exist and some run successfully, but in my experience, these invariably also rely on people closely associated with farming and hunting.
The input of these stakeholders is often impossible to monetise, so it was great to have the opportunity to repay their generosity by giving a little bit back. The Fernie hold their meeting at Dingley, Leics, in May, and it is well worth a visit.
Welcoming a February ramp-up
Although the season has been going for more than two months now, it is what I would describe as “just getting going”.
The number of meetings is due to ramp-up during February. It presents the opportunity for shrewd placement to optimise the chances of a horse winning.
It may sound slightly odd; you may ask, “Why is that not the case every time?” The reality is it is more difficult to find the perfect race at the ideal course on suitable ground when there are fewer race meetings to choose from. Certain compromises tend to be made and chances taken, but with a reduced probability of success.
Taking part is certainly great, but winning is definitely better.
Ref Horse & Hound; 6 February 2020