Paul Cooper: From one code to another

With the falling of the autumn leaves come the passing of one Flat racing season and the start of the National Hunt season. The National Hunt season has been going for a few months but the better horses do not tend to come out until November.

The two codes have only a handful of similarities. Very few courses stage both quality Flat and National Hunt racing. There is no Flat racing at Cheltenham or Aintree or National Hunt racing at Newmarket! Ascot and Sandown stage quality racing under both codes. But the biggest difference is the people involved. National Hunt people tend to be more rural and involved for the love of the sport. Potential financial gain for the jumpers is unlikely. The participants are often people who ride or hunt. These people enjoy point to point racing as well. Where did the name point to point come from? They used to gallop a horse from one church spire to another. And they called the top of the spire a point! 

People go flat racing for a nice day out in the sunshine (hopefully) as well as seeing the racing. Only the more hardy are willing to spend the day out at a National Hunt meeting in the freeze at Fakenham or the chill at Catterick. The National Hunt (Jumping) crowd are a cheery local lot who take on board the thrills and spills of the jumping game. Most betting shop punters bet under both codes, some are misguided enough to bet on virtual racing! The racegoer is a more selective soul and the Jumping crowd sometimes only bet at their local course on local trainers. Much more cloth cap, one might say. 

When spring returns so does flat racing.

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