For the last decade, the Combined Services Point to Point races have raised money for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity. This year the event is on 4 February at Larkhill racecourse and, after being saved from closure last year, the race day will be bigger than ever.
Race Secretary, Johnny Brooking said:
“’The Combined Services Point-to-Point is extremely proud to continue its relationship with SSAFA. The Combined Services meeting is the last remaining military Point-to-Point and it seems fitting therefore that we support the Armed Forces charity.”
The funds, pledged to the SSAFA Wiltshire branch, will enable it to continue supporting veterans and service people in their times of hardship, within the county.
Since 1947 Larkhill has been home to military Point to Point steeplechasing. The ground was laid immediately after WWII and is considered one of the best courses in the country for preparing novice horses for the bigger, national races. Seasoned tipsters use it to watch for upcoming national champions, everyone else goes for the friendly and thrilling atmosphere. Last year there was a move to close the racecourse, but Ben Wallace, then Defence Secretary, stepped in and reversed the decision, keeping the racecourse open and the military racing tradition alive.
One race goer said:
“If you have never attended a Point to Point meeting I seriously recommend it. It is the most exciting form of horse racing, full of jeopardy, mud and exhilaration. This is the only meeting where you will see all military runners and the competitive spirit is on overdrive.”
The Combined Services Point to Point is the only race day of the season not to be affiliated with a hunt as it is military event. The meeting will consist of six races, including the renowned Coronation Gold Cup, established by Queen Elizabeth II, which was won last year by trainer Paul Nichols.
Those interested in the Armed Forces connection will get a glimpse into the military lifestyle, be able to chat to serving members of all three sections of the Armed Forces and enjoy glorious views over the beautiful Salisbury Plain training ground and tank tracks.
The first race is at 12 noon on Sunday 4 February at Larkhill Racecourse, and there will be trade stands and field food stalls. Book tickets at: larkhillracing.com/tickets/