The widespread Coronavirus pandemic has hit many Rutland events which were due to take place in the coming weeks.
The UK Government imposed restrictions aimed at restricting the spread of the virus, including an effective ban on mass gatherings.
Although not implicitly forbidden, Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested that medical personnel, usually present at sports and cultural events in case of accidents, should instead be available to the NHS at this time of need.
Midlands Pointing announced on Tuesday 17th March that all the remaining point-to-point horse racing meetings due to take place in the Midlands were cancelled, including the four fixtures due to take place at Garthorpe Racecourse, just outside Wymondham.
Although technically not in Rutland, Garthorpe is only a few minutes drive up the road from Ashwell and is very easy to find if you are a new visitor.
it is considered to be one of the very best amateur racecourses in the UK and attracts the best horses and jockeys for each of its five annual meetings.
The first of these “point-to-point” race meetings is coming up soon at the course, just outside Melton Mowbray.
The first meeting will be held on Sunday 27th February with the first race starting at 12 noon. A preview will be published on the Tuesday/Wed before on Midlands Pointings’s website (www.midlandspointing.com) and also on Garthorpe’s own site (www.garthorpe.com), where you can also see details of the other meetings.
Tickets are available on both websites and are £12.50 in advance for adults, with children under 16 admitted free of charge. The price will rise to £15 in the last week and will be £20 on the day.
At the course you will find refreshments and some trade stands. There will be bookmakers there so you can have a bet too.
Dogs are very welcome but must be on a lead at all times.
There are seven races at this meeting.
The first race is a Conditions Race which gives weight penalties to horses which have previously won certain races as a form of handicap system.
The next is a Maiden Race over two and a half miles rather than the usual three at Garthorpe and is for horses which are yet to win their first race.
The Mixed Open race, next, is the feature race of the day, for the best horses and riders.
The Veterans Conditions race is for older horses.
The Novice Riders race is for jockeys who have not yet won five races.
Horses in the Restricted race have won no more than one race.
Finally, there is another Maiden race for horses yet to win. This time they must be six years old or more.