What can I expect at Andoversford Point-to-Point races?

Point-to-Point racing is the amateur version of what you see each week on ITV Racing, or at Cheltenham, Aintree, Stratford or Hereford. It's a nursery ground for young horses and for young riders, where older horses no longer fast enough for professional racing, can extend their careers teaching young men and women the art of race riding. 

 

The programme is made up of six steeplechases over a distance of 3 miles, for Thoroughbreds. There is a relevance to this distance, being the average distance between points during a day's hunting. Indeed, whilst the connection of the sport to hunting is more distant than at any time since its creation, the sport owes its development to racing fans within individual hunts across the UK, Ireland and France, where the annual Point-to-Point is both a significant fund-raising activity and a memorable social occasion. Races are ridden by amateur riders, many of whom work for professional racehorse trainers, or who own their own horses to ride. Until the sport came under the control of the National Hunt committee, now the British Horseracing Authority, races were open to any horse, and a few of these types of races still exist, providing a still more colourful aspect to the sport.

 

There are no grandstands. The course is laid out and spectators are held back from the course by temporary railings. Tents and marquees furnish the event with structures to house the Weighing Area, changing rooms, bars and all the trappings of an outdoor event. It is the ultimate pop-up event, reverting to pasture days after the fixture. This temporary feel gives the event a carnival or circus atmosphere, despite the competition being delivered at a very professional level. Be in no doubt that the standard of races can be very high; in the past 3 years, Andoversford winners have included a subsequent winner of the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury, and a Maiden winner sold to the airline tycoon Michael O'Leary for a six figure sum.  

Many is the young rider who has launched a career after a season "between the flags", including from within Gloucestershire, leading professional riders Sam Twiston-Davies, educated at Cotswold School, Tom Scudamore (Cheltenham College) and Olly McPhail, now taking the story of racing and its career opportunities into schools across the UK. Preceding the steeplechases are at least two pony races, where riders from 9 - 16 can start their journey to see whether the sport remains just for fun or develops into a professional career. Andoversford, among 100 other Point-to-Point courses in the UK, is the starting point for a new generation of young jockeys.

No race meeting would be the same without betting. Andoversford's bookmakers provide a market largely for small stakes bettors, so your £1 each way will not be out of place, alongside some larger wagers on occasion. There's no Tote, so the price you see when you strike the bet is your return on your investment. And whilst exchange betting is now a mainstream wagering choice on the high street, internet or on the racecourse proper, it's yet to make its entry at Point-to-Point level. Meantime you can find the best betting exchange in the UK at Freebets and make the most of horse racing by having total control over the bets you make, including setting odds as per your choice, and not what is listed by the bookie. 

And like all the best country events, where there are horses, dogs abound! A dog agility competition runs alongside the races, and there is a hound parade where children and adults alike can meet the hounds and huntsmen which are the origin of the sport. Shops, bars and entertainments for children make up the eclectic mix that is Andoversford Races - a great day out for the whole family.

 

Event details

When?

Sunday April 11th 2021

Gates open 1030. Pony racing 12 noon, Steeplechases from 2.15pm

Where?

6m SE Cheltenham, nr junction of A40 and A436 (Exit 11A, M5)

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Latest News

23-07-2021 13:29:19 in General by Peter McNeile
A sweltering July Thursday afternoon is about as far removed from the Point-to-Point experience as you can imagine, but that hasn't stopped Cotswold-based trainers from capitalizing on the infrequent Jump racing fixtures taking place at this time of year, and Worcester, scenicly situated on the banks of the Severn, provided plenty of entertainment and success for our professional handlers yesterda...

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Martin Keighley is a man in a hurry, after he exceeded last year's sum total of winners with a double at Worcester yesterday. Mind you, last season was largely one to forget, but with horses like Pinnacle Peak, an accomplished 14l winner of the concluding handicap hurdle, he can be assured there is more to follow.  Worcester's scenic riverside track has a set of fixtures few would envy - lar...

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A son of the Cotswolds enjoyed a marquee moment today when former Point-to-Point rider and one time trainer at Postlip, near Winchcombe, James Grassick, trained his first winner in France, at St Malo.  Grassick, who sold up to start a new life with his young family at the Dreux training centre within a few miles of Mont St Michel last autumn, finally received his French training licence towa...

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28-06-2021 20:16:44 in General by Peter McNeile
Four of Gloucestershire's trainers have been making the most of the very limited opportunities available at this time of year over the past few days. Just four fixtures have taken place since this time last week.  The Fergal O'Brien stable continues to make the most of its opportunities, with a winner yesterday at Uttoxeter, another today at Southwell and a brace of seconds to accompany them...

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