Sheriff Hutton heralds new era for Middleton

POINTING THE WAY: Jockey Harry Bannister in action on Banny's Lad at a recent point-to-point meeting.
POINTING THE WAY: Jockey Harry Bannister in action on Banny's Lad at a recent point-to-point meeting.
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ORGANISERS of the long-established Middleton Point-to-Point are hoping a new venue and new date provide a winning combination ahead of Saturday’s meeting at Sheriff Hutton.

First held in 1922 near Howsham, the future of the meeting looked in doubt last April when the site at Whitwell-on-the-Hill was withdrawn.

However, Michael Easterby stepped in to save the event by offering the site at Sheriff Hutton from where this year’s Easter special will be held on Saturday.

Ruth Gibson has recently taken over from Lucy Mason as secretary and hopes the Bank Holiday Easter weekend will hope to draw a larger crowd than usual for the latest instalment of the Yorkshire Area Point-to-Point season.

The meeting has also been held at Kirby Grindalythe, West Lutton and Scarborough and Gibson is now relishing the opportunity to embark on a new era at Sheriff Hutton.

Gibson told The Yorkshire Post: “The Middleton Point-to-Point has traditionally provided a convivial atmosphere.

“It has always been very well supported and the size of the crowd creates a special atmosphere – a real racing occasion.

“This year, the proximity to Easter and the new venue at Sheriff Hutton generously offered by Mick Easterby, allows us to encourage those who would not normally attend such a meeting.

“Families and friends can have a good social day out enjoying the home made food, the barbecue, the bar, and many even bring their own picnics – not to mention there’s a panoramic unobstructed view of some of the best point-to-point racing in Yorkshire!

“It’s an exciting time for us and the emphasis is to provide entertainment for all the family.”

The card’s highlight will be the four-mile-plus Grimthorpe Gold Cup, taking in 20 jumps in a ‘Point-to-Point Grand National’, one week short of the Aintree spectacular. Gibson now only hopes the occasion is made even more enjoyable through some sunshine, and racegoers backing plenty of winners.

The secretary added: “The course is already used by the Yorkshire Area Point-to-Point in January and has proved to be an exceptionally good site. The natural grandstand effect (Michael’s Mound) creates an ideal viewing point.”

The first of seven races starts at 1pm, with a parade of Middleton hounds. Admission costs £10 with under-14s free.