Earliest ever start to Northern point-to-point season
The earliest ever start to a Northern Area Point-to-Point season sees the Border fixture at Hexham Racecourse on Sunday, November 28 followed a fortnight later by the Ratcheugh Racing Club card at Alnwick on December 12.
As usual, four of the Area's 13 meetings will take place at the latter venue. The fences will all be moved after the West Percy on Sunday, January 9 to provide fresh ground for the Percy (Jan 30) and College Valley & North Northumberland (Feb 27) cards. The latter two meetings both include Point-to-Point Flat Races on their programmes.
There is good news for those unable to attend Alnwick' s fixture on Sunday, December 12 as it has just been confirmed that the action will be live streamed as it was last year.
The Lanarkshire & Renfrewshire meeting at Overton Farm on Saturday, March 26 has total prize money of £4,000 on offer, a new record for the Northern Area. It stages the Area Feature Race for the first time, with a prize fund of £1,500 which includes £1,000 to the winner.
The Fife fixture on Saturday, April 23 has relocated to Overton Farm from the now defunct Balcormo Mains and boasts total prize money of £3,350 which includes the £1,000 Ineos Grenadier Mixed Open Race.
Some good fixture planning sees none of the 13 scheduled meetings in the 2021/22 campaign clash with one in Yorkshire. In a further boost, 74 of the season's 83 races are open to horses from all areas.
The Tynedale's popular meeting at Downhills near Corbridge has moved to Easter Monday (April 18) for the first time in 40 years, while the Haydon will again stage the Area's concluding fixture at Hexham Racecourse on Saturday, May 14.
Pony racing continues to be well supported across the country and will take place at 9 of the 11 Northern Area meetings in 2022 between January 23 and May 14.
The two Hexham meetings have always attracted plenty of long distance travellers and the Border should be no exception. Last season's Warwickshire-based champion trainer, Tom Ellis is planning to have runners in both Maiden Races and won't be making the 440-mile round trip just for a change of scenery.
The going on Hexham's point-to-point track is currently near perfect and all the fences have been re-built.