As the 100 year old Point-to-Point racing (amateur steeplechasing) season begins, Sara Greenwood introduces the new home of the Cattistock course.
Point-to-Point horse racing, steeplechasing for amateurs, is getting into full swing again. There have been some very good days’ racing around the Wessex Area which covers eastern Hampshire to Devon and is one of the largest and busiest areas in the country.
A century of racing from point… to point. Point-to-Pointing locally was introduced in the Blackmore Vale country in the late 19th century. Generally, races were run from one point to another – hence the name. The start and finish were kept secret, runners simply told where they should meet. They were then able to ‘take their own line’ to the finish. Through the 20th century the races became more regulated, resulting in the modern sport of today. Over the past 50 years the Cattistock meetings have been held at Darvole, near Yeovil, Inpark, Toller Down Gate, Littlewindsor… and the 2022 venue for the Cattistock point- to-point horse and pony races is a new home. In contrast to the stiff climb of the old Seaborough course, the new course at Chilfrome sits in the bowl of a valley. It is an elongated, almost flat oval, with a slight incline towards the finish.
A day out
We start the day at 1.00 pm with two Pony Races for children aged 9 – 16, many of whom go on to
have successful careers in racing either on the flat or National Hunt. These are followed by six Point-to-Point races, each one aimed to suit the various ages and abilities of horses.
The valley is now sheep grazing country; old turf throughout with hedgerows and a few clumps of trees.
If you’ve not been before, why not bring the family to the race on the 30th April? It promises to be an exciting day – viewing of the new course will be excellent across the valley.
There will be a Licensed Bar, delicious local food,
Bookies, ice cream and other stalls. It should make for a wonderful family day out.
Admission is from 11 am – £15 per person including a Race Card. Under 16s are Free. Book tickets here
by Sara Greenwood