Sad­ness at clo­sure of pop­u­lar point­ing track

Black For­est Lodge will no longer host pointto-point fix­tures as the land has been sold

Horse & Hound - - Newsinsider - By LUCY EL­DER

THE point-to-point com­mu­nity is in a state of shock fol­low­ing the loss of a pop­u­lar and long­stand­ing course in the south-west.

Black For­est Lodge in Devon (pic­tured) will no longer host fix­tures as the land has been sold.

The news was re­vealed on 3 Septem­ber and “all ef­forts” are be­ing made to rear­range the three sched­uled fix­tures.

Th­ese were the Black For­est Club on 19 Novem­ber, Sil­ver­ton Fox­hounds on 21 Jan­uary and the Mid Devon Hunt on 4 March.

Point­ing had been held at Black For­est Lodge for 20 years and it was host to one of the open­ing fix­tures in the Bri­tish point-to-point­ing cal­en­dar.

“It has been a course you could al­ways rely on,” Devon & Corn­wall Point to Point As­so­ci­a­tion sec­re­tary Gor­don Cham­bers told H&H. “Talks are pro­gress­ing on re­sit­ing the three meet­ings.”

Point-to-point jockey and H&H columnist Dar­ren Ed­wards holds fond mem­o­ries of the track.

He rode his 200th point-to­point win­ner there on 1 De­cem­ber 2016 rid­ing Luke Har­vey’s Por­lock Bay and scored a tre­ble at the Sil­ver­ton’s meet­ing in 2015.

“I have al­ways been quite lucky there,” he said. “One of the best things about the track was that it drained so well and be­ing near the sea it didn’t suf­fer too badly with frost, so it was ideal for earl­y­sea­son runs — you could race there in De­cem­ber and Jan­uary with­out too many prob­lems.

“It serves as a re­minder that — like with hunt­ing and all things eques­trian — it re­ally does rely on the landown­ers be­ing pre­pared to have meet­ings on their land.

“It would be a good time for all hunts and point-to-points to re­mem­ber to thank landown­ers.”

Point-to-point trainer and jockey Laura Thomas, who also en­joyed suc­cess at the venue, was among many to share their sad­ness at its loss.

“I thought it was a lovely course — it al­ways had good ground be­cause of the sandy soil,” she told H&H. “I par­tic­u­larly liked the open­ing meet­ing — it kick­started the sea­son re­ally nicely.”

CHANG­ING COURSE

THE clo­sure fol­lows the end of point­ing at Whit­field in Northamp­ton­shire due to de­vel­op­ment work on the con­tro­ver­sial High Speed 2 (HS2) rail­way (news, 8 June).

How­ever pos­i­tive news fol­lowed with the an­nounce­ment that a new race­course would open at Edg­cote, near Ban­bury, to hold the three fix­tures pre­vi­ously lo­cated at Whit­field.

In other good news, it was re­vealed on 4 Septem­ber that point­ing will re­turn to Knightwick in Worces­ter­shire af­ter 34 years.

The Clifton on Teme fix­ture will be held on an en­tirely new course at Knightwick, mov­ing from its cur­rent home at Up­per Sapey, on 29 April, 2018.

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