Despite many trials and tribulations along the way, Point-to-Pointing managed to salvage what it could from a paired down fixture list and finish the end of the season on a high with spectators finally returning in late May. A huge thank you to all those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make this happen – from the team at the PPA, PPSA, Fixture secretaries and to the volunteers at the courses who stepped up to become COVID stewards or fulfil several other unfamiliar roles.
Encouragingly the number of entries for meetings staged after the resumption on March 29th were well up on previous averages for the time of year leading to some extremely competitive racing and particularly noteworthy was the fact that all the premier hunter chases of the season fell the way of home grown trainers. The future appears bright – so long as we don’t experience any future interruptions.
I have now been in position as the Independent Chairman of The Point to Point Racing Company (PPRC) for two years. In this time, through talking to a number of people in the sport, I have become acutely aware that there some remain uncertain as to the role that the Point-to-Point Racing Company performs in support of Point-to-Pointing. I thought therefore it would be useful to set out below some brief details of the company and what it does.
The Point to Point Racing Company is owned jointly by Weatherbys and the Point to Point Authority who purchased a 50% share of the Company in 2009. The board is made up of two representatives from the PPA, two representatives from Weatherbys and an independent chairman.
The Company receives no central funding and is therefore reliant entirely on income derived from its various activities. The PPRC receives no income from any regulation or registration fees. It employs three full time staff and is based in Wellingborough.
In terms of a dividend policy, in normal times 50% of net profits produced by the company are returned equally to the two shareholders with the remaining profits retained to strengthen the balance sheet and to allow the company to invest in its future. Over the last two years these dividend payments have been waived with all monies retained in reserve.
What the PPRC does.
- takes entries for Point-to-Point meetings either completely when asked to by the Fixture or working alongside other fixtures fixture secretaries. Entries are predominantly taken online. The PPRC entry service also includes checking of qualification and verifying weights and penalties. Payment is made at point of entry, via credit/debit card, eradicating the risk of bad debts. Last season we were scheduled to provide this service for 106 meetings out of a total of 165 meetings. (One area that often confuses is the registration of Hunter Certificates which is not actually a PPRC function but instead is carried out by different staff working under Weatherbys central contract with the BHA).
- works with Weatherbys Printing to produce racecards for meetings when asked to. Last season we introduced ‘runners sheets’ and digital cards to complement our traditional racecard service. The team can also produce form guides if required.
- runs the sport’s official website (pointtopoint.co.uk) containing details of fixtures, meeting information, course maps, going reports, entries, form guides, results and a video archive. The team also work closely with journalists to ensure a series of articles are published throughout the summer in order to maintain year round interest.
- collates detailed results from every meeting and produces weekly supplements for the sport’s Official Loose-Leaf Form Book.
- maintains the sport’s Official Ratings database with new assessments published weekly throughout the season in the Formbook and in Rating Supplements
- Digital -produces a weekly e-magazine called ‘Go Pointing’ containing features, reviews and previews. Free to download it provides a shop window for the sport.
- Printing – annual publication of the Planner and Yearbook which together provide details of the upcoming fixtures and races and a review of the season including comments and ratings for all those horses that raced the previous year. The Yearbook is the latest iteration of a series of that dates back to 1959. The Planner is also available as a digital publication.
- Data. Sells Point-to-Point results data to various media outlets including the Press Association and Racing Post.
- Video – coordinates the upload of footage from the majority fixtures and distributes media payments to fixtures and works closely with Jockey Club Racecourses on maintaining a sponsorship deal that supports this initiative.
New last season
Unique circumstances called for a flexible approach and the adoption of several innovative processes.
- Advance declarations – these were taken for all meetings at the 48 hour stage (Thursday). Race division was automated and checks undertaken to ensure no horse or rider was declared for more than one meeting
- Runners sheets were produced and, during times when public attendance was not permitted, emailed to all keeper’s and owners with an entry
- Streaming – advance runners data was supplied to the streaming providers to allow them to produce screen graphics and a link to the various portals placed on the front page of the website.
- Pace ratings (or speed figures) were added to the Formbook for the first time and top-rated selections published in Go Pointing.
- A special Planner supplement was created detailing the all the race conditions relating to the revised resumption fixture list and was distributed free of charge to all previous subscribers
Staff – The company employs just three members of staff headed by Nick Wilson who boasts an extensive CV in horseracing publications and administration. He is ably assisted by Jen Graham – who has experience at working in hunting/livery yards and in pedigree research and Tom Chilman, a BHA graduate with a degree in Journalism. We are extremely grateful to all of them for all the hard work they put in to provide the excellent service we all receive.
The company was formed to serve and present Point-to-Pointing in the best possible way and remains at the heart of ensuring the continued health of our sport. For this to continue we need protect and maximise the value of our products and to this end you will for the first time this year the chance to see and order any of our publications via the Hunter Certificate- some at significant discount. By supporting the Point-to-Point Racing Company you are investing in a stronger future for our sport.
Please enjoy the remainder of the summer,