The 2020 south east area point-to-point season kicks off at Charing, near Ashford, on Sunday, February 16. [See note at the end of this article – editor]
Although the national point-to-point season started back in November, the south east area never starts before February. When it finally does, you can guarantee an abundance of entries in what is normally a six-race card.
This year is no exception and 124 horses are entered for the South East Hunts Club meeting, with over 25 in each of three of the races and just one race, the Restricted, with entries in single figures.
Local trainers, owners and jockeys are well represented, with Udimore owner/trainer Alex Ball running Essteepee, an 11 year-old in the older horse Veterans Race. Her 17 year-old son Cosmo will take the ride. “Cosmo works for trainer Alan King in Wiltshire and often rides up to seven horses a day – so he should be fit!” says Alex. Essteepee won twice before they brought him from Wales last December. Like any well intentioned mum, Alex does all the training herself, riding him every day. Fast work is carried out on the local beaches and at gallops owned by fellow local trainers Hannah Grissell at Brightling Park and Libby Lawson at Bilsington Priory.
Libby has two horses trained at Bilsington entered for the weekend. Curragh Hall is a new horse, acquired this season for owner/rider Chris Pendry, a groundsman at Boughton Golf Course near Faversham, and Don’t Do Mondays, who, at 13 years old, is an old favourite among south east racing fans. Having competed in the Foxhunters Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last season and the winner of five Open races in the last two years, Mondays will contest the Ladies Open race with Sussex jockey Izzie Marshall, currently in her second year studying for a business degree at Reading university.
The Brightling Park team of Hannah Grissell also have two horses entered at Charing. Golden Bandit probably needs further than the short two and half mile maiden race, while Cooladerry King, ridden by sister Rose, is making a comeback after a year off. Both will be best to watch this first time out.
Entry to a day at the races this weekend is £10 per person, under 16’s free. Race cards are £3 and the first race is off at 12 noon.
The going is currently described as good with soft patches.
A season pass is available and costs £110. This allows entry for two people to all the ten race meetings in the south east this year.
Editor’s note: We have just heard from the Point to Point organisers that, due to the imminent arrival of storm Dennis, the race meeting this weekend has been postponed. We are advised, however, that it will still take place at a future date and full details of any revised arrangements will be posted on South East Racing’s website.