Lauderdale point-to-point at Mosshouses making comeback after three years off

Lauderdale’s annual point-to-point horse-racing meeting at Mosshouses, near Galashiels, is making a comeback this weekend after three years off, initially because of coronavirus restrictions.
Lauderdale point-to-point organisers Charlotte Dun and Tony Hogarth with horses Nine Altars and Roll CallLauderdale point-to-point organisers Charlotte Dun and Tony Hogarth with horses Nine Altars and Roll Call
Lauderdale point-to-point organisers Charlotte Dun and Tony Hogarth with horses Nine Altars and Roll Call

That revival on Sunday will also see the event celebrate its 75th anniversary.

Six races will be run, plus two for ponies.

Organising committee chairman Tony Hogarth said: “The Lauderdale point-to-point was first run at Mosshouses in 1948. It was a great day out after the war years.

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“I remember going along, as a little boy, with my brother and being gobsmacked by the horses, the size of the crowds and the thrill of watching the races.

“I have been hooked ever since, and over the years it has been brilliant to see so many people come to Mosshouses, where we have witnessed some fantastic racing.

“Some top horses and jockeys have made the early steps in their career at the Mosshouses point-to-point.

“We now have pony-racing as part of the day too, and that has proved a great starting point for future jockeys.

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“Point-to-point racing now looks similar to jump racing on proper courses like Kelso or Musselburgh. There is a parade ring where people can see the horses prior to each race, the jumps are laid out around a pre-set track, and there are bookies for people who like a bet, a bar and catering tents.

“Essentially, though, we are carrying on a much older tradition of farming and horse-owning families competing to see who has the fastest horse across country.

“In this part of the world I believe there were races held from the tower at Bluecairn, round the Colmslie Tower and back again, then in 1948 some members of the Lauderdale Hunt decided to set a circuit over the fields of Mosshouses and stage the first point-to-point meeting.

“Now we have proper birch jumps, but the course is still three miles over fields.

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“I believe Mosshouses was chosen as it provides a great natural viewing arena of the racing. We have all of the public facilities on one hillside with a great view over to the opposite hill where the horses race. It’s like a natural amphitheatre.

“We really hope for a great crowd to come and watch the races this year and help celebrate our 75th anniversary.

“We have moved to a mid-April date because the firmer ground we often experienced on our previous date in May did not suit many horses.

“The ground will be less dry and firm in April, so we hope to have many more runners for our six races, and we hope this will make for a really special sporting day for everyone who comes along.”

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Admission is £10, though children under 16 get in free. For further details, go to www.mosshousesraces.com

Gates open at noon and racing will begin at 1pm, continuing until 4.30pm.

Fellow committee member Charlotte Dun added: “Our Lauderdale meeting this year actually takes place the day after the Grand National, so I would encourage anyone to make a weekend of it – enjoy the telly racing on the Saturday and then come and see the real thing on the Sunday.

“The next best thing to actually riding is being there to watch the horses. The horses are the real superstars of the day anyway. It takes a special sort of horse with the right stamina and willingness to jump and race to go point-to-pointing. When you get the right horse who loves the job, it is a pleasure to see them race.”

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