81. Point-to-Point Racing

Action from the North Cotswold Hunt's annual point-to-point meeting at Paxford.As well as being a major centre for the horse racing world, the Cotswolds is a popular centre for point-to-point, a form of amateur horse racing over fences for hunting horses.

In Ireland, many of the horses will appear in these races before they compete in National Hunt races either in Ireland or in the UK. In contrast, in England and Wales horses running in point-to-points are more likely to be at the end of their National Hunt careers.

Some of the most popular meetings are organised each year at Paxford, near Chipping Campden (North Cotswold Hunt), Andoversford (Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt), Didmarton, near Tetbury (Duke of Beaufort's Hunt), Siddington, near Cirencester (Vale of White Horse), and Woodford (Berkeley Hunt).

Gina Mills, joint secretary of the North Cotswold Hunt, which organises the Paxford point-to-point meeting each Easter Monday, said it was an important event in the calendar for many locals.

"It’s an opportunity to relax and meet friends with superb picnics eaten out of the back of the cars," she said.

"The racing features many locals who train their own horses to compete in the event and many of the jockeys are well known and local too, having grown up in the area.

"This creates a family-friendly atmosphere where everyone is cheering on their friends. You don’t have to know a lot about racing. You can just soak up the atmosphere while having a drink from the bar, shopping at the local trade stands or betting with the bookies."
© Loving The Cotswolds. 2017.