On Saturday, the Duke of Beaufort’s is celebrating the 6oth anniversary of point-to-point racing at Didmarton, where every paying racegoer will receive a free commemorative racecard.
Many well-known equestrian faces — human and equine — have made their mark at the track over the years. In 1951, show jumper Pat Smythe won the ladies’ race. In 1957, The Queen Mother attended the point-to-point to watch her horse come second to local Beaufort farmer Arthur Smith, riding his home-bred Egbert.
Clandestine, trained by Henrietta Knight and owned by the present (11th) Duke of Beaufort, then David Somerset, won the hunt race in 1979 and ’80. In 1991, Olympic eventing gold medallist Matt Ryan won the hunt race on Leading Artist.
Famous jockeys who rode at Didmarton include Richard Dunwoody and Radio 5 Live commentator Luke Harvey. Champion trainer Paul Nicholls, the late Captain Tim Forster, Robert Alner and Michael Scudamore all rode at the Beaufort point-to-point on their way to achieving success as trainers.
Among the equine stars who ran at Didmarton are Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Cool Dawn and The Dikler, the Christies Foxhunter winner Earthmover, and Katarino, who won the Aintree Fox Hunters over the Grand National fences.