And They're Off!
Updated: Feb 12
Last weekend was the Chipley Point to Point, an annual event in this part of the world. Have you ever been? No? Well, I can really recommend it as an afternoon pursuit! Here is your guide to Point to Point!
Firstly, wrap up warmly. The Chipley point to Point is on an exposed hill with Quantocks in the distance and the wind can fair whistle across the course. We have been up there in a sleety gale and that doesn't sound particularly pleasant, but its just an excuse to all huddle in the beer tent! Strap on your wellies, put the dog on the lead, check your wallet for a a modicum of cash (yes - Cash! Remember that paper stuff that everyone used to carry around? It is still welcomed at a Point to Point!) and tramp up the lane opposite Chipley Escapes for half a mile and you are there. If you have a Barbour jacket and green hunter wellies you will fit right in with the horsey crowd who mill around watching the races. But if you don't (as I don't), its not a problem. Grab yourself a programme usually found for sale in the back of a horsebox, and head to the beer tent for a quiet perusal of the runners and riders. The description of the participants is a little impenetrable I grant you, but if you know the state of the ground and therefore whether the going is good/soft/heavy etc, you should be able to identify the horses and riders who are likely to be able to get round the 3 laps of 13 fences a lap without falling.
As you can see, you are very close to the action too which makes it all the more exciting! Each race can have up to 10 riders a race, which gives you lots of choice, and there are usually 6-8 races per meeting. I recommend taking a squint with a general air of confidence at the parade ring before placing your bets. If you are anything like me, it won't make a scrap of difference to your winnings, but it will make you look good! Once you have decided on the horse or horses of choice, saunter over to the bookie offering the best odds and place your bet. Now at this point, I have to tell you, I have no system. I am always drawn to lady jockeys (girl power) and I do like a grey horse, but to be honest if a horse looks me in the eye in the parade ring, I will risk a couple of quid on the basis that it looks keen and knows what its doing there, but who knows? I am no Horse Whisperer!
On the subject of betting, don't be shy! I have no qualms about walking up to a bookies and with an air of authority, placing a £2 bet to win on my chosen horse. Of course, there will be people there with pockets full of cash placing £100's but don't let that put you off. If you lose (as we did most of the afternoon) it's just an excuse to head to the beer tent or buy a burger. What's not to love?
Chipley Escapes is the ideal base for attending a Point to Point and if you want to find out more generally or another event nearby, here is the link www.pointtopoint.co.uk