Point to Point to celebrate its half century

In March 1967 the Morpeth Point to Point moved its meeting to the old Tranwell Airfield just outside Morpeth by kind invitation of the Forster family.

On April 9, 50 years later, organisers will be celebrating this anniversary by inviting about 30 of the officials, jockeys and committee members listed in the racecard that day to a “survivors’ lunch” at the course.

Mr and Mrs Michael Jeans (nee Forster) and family will be there as will Mrs K. Craggs, one of a team of eight people who put up considerable funds to underwrite the inaugural event. Mrs Craggs celebrated her 100th birthday at the 2016 meeting.

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In 1967 a horse called Hetman, owned by Mrs W.G. Forster completed a remarkable season by winning the prestigious Heart of all England Hunterchase.

In the lead up to this, he inadvertently competed at Tranwell. His owner, having seen that only one other horse had entered the Men’s Open, rushed back to the farm and pulled Hetman out of the field where he had been enjoying some spring grass, took him to the course, legged up his jockey Brian Surtees and the pair went on to win the race!

Another race on the day not without incident was the Ladies’ Open. A horse called Smallburn, ridden by Terri Rankin (nee Smiles) didn’t like the firm going, refused twice, ran out, unseated its rider and then disappeared back to the wagons!

Over the years, horses that have started their careers on the point to point scene have gone on to race against the professionals as will many of the young jockeys you will see on the day.

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Last year’s Members’ Race featured four such riders, one of whom is Amie Waugh who, as an amateur, has won many races against professional jockeys on official racecourses and currently stands in joint first place in the Amateur Jockeys’ Association of Great Britain Lady Jockeys’ NH Championship. She has also represented England on the flat. Rory Bevin is in second place for the National @pointopoint Gentlemen’s Novice Rider.

The local Riding for the Disabled volunteers and riders will be on the course with their buckets to raise funds, please donate all your winnings and loose change to this deserving cause.

Organisers are now looking for as many people as possible to pop along on the day to help then mark their half century.

The irst race is off at 1.30pm with pony racing from 12.30pm.

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