Here at A Hume we’re all looking forward to the Duke of Buccleuch’s Point to Point , at Friars Haugh on 15th March but we appreciate that not everyone feels as we do.
Considering that for much of the day you can’t feel your toes the uninitiated can be forgiven for wondering, “What is the point of point-to-point?’ If I fancy a flutter wouldn’t I be better staying at home, nice and cosy, watching Channel 4 Racing and taking my chances with Betfair online?”
Point taken. But no. Where’s the fun in that?
Clearly you haven’t stopped to consider all you’ll be missing: the joy of perching on the tailgate of a Range Rover (other cars, even those without tailgates will do at a pinch), slurping Heinz tomato soup from the lid of a thermos; or witnessing overexcited dogs reverting to their pack instincts, preying on small picnicking children, stealing half-eaten floury baps and tearing across the racecourse, headlong into the leaders, startling horses and unseating riders whilst the dog’s owner yells plaintively, “I don’t know what’s wrong with Geoffrey, he’s normally so well behaved!”
At this moment you may feel you’ve had your money’s worth, chuckles all round, you can go home happy, but in all likelihood the woman yelling hasn’t even noticed her errant hound and is referring to her husband, who you only now notice, is half-hidden beneath the 4×4, flat out, legs splayed, empty sloe gin bottle by his side.
You see, the point of Point to Point isn’t horses, or even betting, it’s the people!
Watching people. Meeting people. New people. Old People.
Point to point is a great big social thing. A hoolie in a field. A bit like T-in the Park, or Glastonbury but with horses instead of music and more common ground vis a vis dress codes than you would imagine: wellies and Dubarry are de rigueur at both, ditto Barbour.
Be prepared – is the sartorial order of the day. Jeans. Tweeds. Wax. Flamboyant pink tutu. It’s Point to Point nobody cares so long as you’re warm and dry, and you’re having fun. In fact in the case of the pink tutu it’s highly unlikely you’re warm and dry, but very probable you’re having fun, so you will still be welcomed with open arms.
Point-to-Point is an amateur event and the atmosphere is very informal and friendly.
If you’ve never been before muster your friends and go along en masse with an open mind and a pliable wallet – for the betting.
Approaching the Bookie waving his arms atop his pitch like he’s guiding a harrier jet into land can seem an intimidating business but don’t be afraid to ask a friendly face in the crowd for advice – you may even rumble a good tip, you may not but at worst you’ll get a bit of chat and learn how to place your bet.
GoPointing have a wee section on how to read a race card if you fancy studying the form.
Leaping into the betting fray, even at random on the basis of a fanciful name, will see you instantly immersed in the action – there’s nothing like a little bit of personal investment to add excitement to a race, waving your betting slip and whooping as your horse gains on the inside is a fine way to lose yourself of a weekend. No one will judge you for over-celebrating even a minimum wager win on the favourite….
Lastly, if you are going to Friars Haugh for the Duke of Buccleuch make sure in all your people watching to keep your eyes peeled for Archie – he’ll be chatting up a storm and sporting a Caribbean tan. And don’t forget to place a bet on our sponsored race, the A Hume Bladen Open Maiden Cup.
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