ON ITS seventieth birthday a Bedale race meeting hopes to attract visitors eager for the chance to see some exciting and entertaining racing.

Held regularly since the 19th century, the Bedale Point to Point has been at Hornby Castle since 1947. Hosted by General Clutterbuck, whose family still welcome the meeting today there were five races, including a ladies’ race who were unable to compete against men. The official veterinarian was Donald Sinclair, made famous as Siegfried Farnon in “All Creatures Great and Small”. In 1914, Major Foster Swetenham who won the Military race had the unfortunate distinction of being the first officer killed in action in World War I having lost his life on the Western Front in August that year.

Today’s event is essentially steeple chasing with six regular point-to-point races. It provides the chance to mix with famous names from racing and the odd celebrity with visitors travelling in from as far as London. Seventy years ago prize money was £20 and the entry fee £2; today the mens’ winner nets £1000.

Following the final race and not for the faint-hearted, is the Hunter’s Challenge; men and women of all ages compete for a trophy and a magnum of champagne.

Stephen Swiers the Chair of Bedale Point to Point said:" It is a great day out for families. As well as our races we have a giant television screen to watch the day’s other races including the Grand National, so no one need miss anything.”

The event is on Saturday April 8, the first race is at 1.30pm; the Hornby Castle site has car parking and is well signposted from all directions. For further details see http://bedalepointtopoint.co.uk/ or Facebook.