We love our point to point racing - and we know you do too! But in these strange times, the sport is struggling to continue Behind Closed Doors (BCD) as it's a sport that relies on spectators, paying to attend and watch. It's like a whole moving community, moving to a new venue each week from October to June. Friendships are made, heroes are followed, bets are placed and loyalties are forged. It's a sport where fledgling jockeys (pony racing jockeys begin at 9 years old) can hone their craft before launching on to the national hunt or flat stage (Harry Cobden, Bryony Frost, Josephine Gordon all started out riding in Devon and Cornwall area events). Young horses learn their trade before moving on to the National Hunt scene.
But it's under threat and we can keep it going during this time by livestreaming the action to your home (or phone).
How you can help
We managed to fund Ottery St Mary live streaming in October, but Wadebridge is coming up and we need your help. It promises to be an afternoon of great racing - it would be wonderful if you could donate to our crowdfund.
The more you can donate, the brighter the future looks for point to pointing in Devon and Cornwall. It would cost £10 to attend if you were able, plus the costs of travelling and food and drink. Could you spare £5 or £10?
We have some rewards on offer for those able to donate a little more, the star being a bobble hat - we have hats in both Cornish and Devonian colours available.
How we will use the funding to provide live streams
Live-streaming - the brainchild of Stephen Wensley who, during the summer, convinced us all that this was the way to get the sport out to those who could no longer (due to Covid 19 regs) attend. Equipment was purchased, partnerships were forged - with Jeff Guyett and his wife Sarah of Westcountry Videos), with Pearce PA, we were fortunate enough to get legendary horse racing presenter Cornelius Lysaght on board, along with Grade one winning jockey Lizzie Kelly. Our commentators Mark Dennis and Chris Clapham came on board, as did 'fixer' Rita Heard. Falmouth University linked up to boost the technical team. The list goes on ......
The sport's very existence is in danger due to Covid-19
Point to point racing - amateur horse racing over fences - is struggling to keep going in these uncertain times. It has a big following and, apart from the participants, attracts huge crowds to the events, which take place weekly in Devon and Cornwall, from October to June.
Peter Wright, the Chief Executive Officer of the sport's governing body, the Point-To-Point authority was interviewed at the East Devon Point-To-Point by Cornelius Lysaght where he described the pandemic as an existential threat to the sport.
Benefits the wider community
It has a large economic benefit to communities. Horses are trained in yards all over Devon and Cornwall, providing employment for stable staff, farriers, feed merchants, saddlers, garages, accountants for example. Some are small with only a few horses but they still pass a lot of money into local businesses.
It provides an exciting afternoon of horseracing (and pony racing for children aged 9-15 at some meetings) for the general public and enthusiasts alike, taking place in spectacular countryside venues. Some meetings are huge local social events with picnics and trade stand areas. But it is under threat. The last 'normal' meeting took place in March and during the closed season, the Devon and Cornwall Area Point to Point Secretaries Association worked hard to come up with ideas for the new season in October.
They focussed on live streaming - if people couldn't come to the sport, the sport would come to them!
The next event
The first event, the East Devon point to point at Ottery St Mary was live streamed on October 24. The next is at Wadebridge in Cornwall - a long way from anywhere but the course always attracts horses from Wales and the Midlands, as well as Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset. They would normally host a fantastic, under cover Christmas Market and often have a large screen indoors, so you can sip on your mulled wine and watch the action close up, without getting wet.
You can read more about the media reaction to our first live stream in these articles:
People Viewing the first live stream
The Devon & Cornwall Point-To-Point area features 25 Point-To-Point fixtures in the 2020/21 season ranging from the first fixture in the national season with the East Devon Point-To-Point at Bishops Court, Ottery St Mary, Devon on 24th October, through to the final Point-To-Point of the season at Umberleigh in June 2021, a meeting which often determines the national champion jockeys. Geographically our course range from Trebudannon near Newquay in Cornwall in the West through to Chipley Park in West Somerset in the East, and the picturesque Bratton Down on Exmoor in the North, and the glorious Flete Park near Plymouth in the South.