Point-to-pointing launched its new governing body last week (Friday, 25 May), to take over the administration and promotion of the sport.
The Point-to-Point Authority, chaired by leading owner Robert Waley-Cohen, is supported by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), under whose auspices point-to-pointing was formerly governed, and by the Point-to-Point Secretaries Association (PPSA), the Point-to-Point Owners’ and Riders’ Association (PPORA) and the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA).
The fee income from owners and organisers that was previously paid to the BHA will now go to the Authority.
Mr Waley-Cohen said: “We believe the PPA is the way forward, to direct the sport and increase spectators and participants, while retaining its amateur ethos, the difference between itself and the lower echelons of National Hunt racing and its links with hunting.”
The PPA will buy a 50 per cent stake in Weatherbys Chase, a company that collates point-to-point information. And a national sponsor for point-to-pointing as a whole is being sought.
Mr Waley-Cohen accepted the contribution from hunts will have to increase to fund true “independence” from the BHA, but believes better-funded point- to-pointing will benefit everyone.
Fees paid by hunts for their individual meetings will range from £25 per meeting during December and January, up to £1,400 for fixtures held on Easter Monday. The MFHA will provide an agreed sum annually.
Mike Felton, MFHA representative on the PPA board, commented: “Given the increased income potential from meetings [such as Easter Monday] which attract the general public to their only point-to-point outing of the year, it makes sense to differentiate. What we aim to do is to market the sport so that this audience will come to other meetings, too.”
The new PPA office will be in Gloucestershire, where it will monitor fallers, handle horses’ and riders’ qualification and certificates, deal with queries and stewards’ enquiries, and all other administrative tasks.
Owners’ fees will increase by £15 and hunts will now contribute £5 per horse qualified.
“For a pack such as the Vale of Aylesbury which would pay the Easter meeting fee as well as a significant amount for certificates, it may seem a lot of money. But it is an investment towards our overall goal of an increased share of the leisure pound,” added Mr Felton.
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (29 May, ’08)