About the Avon Vale Races
The Avon Vale Point-to-Point was first established in 1912 when the idea of a formal horserace meeting was in its infancy still, and subject to weather conditions has run almost every year since then. For spectators it's always been a great day out to enjoy the countryside and this unique atmosphere and the excitement of a highly competitive sporting event.
Situated in the spectacular setting of Larkhill Racecourse on Salisbury Plain, home to more race meetings than any other Pointing venue, the Avon Vale aims to provide the best possible experience for horse, rider and spectator alike at what is considered to be one of the best point-to-point courses in the country,
Before settling at Larkhill, the Avon Vale Point-to-Point ran on its own racecourses up until 1960, the most recent of which was at Manor Farm, Monkton Farleigh. In the early years, the course was never far from the Kennels, then at West Ashton. Races were run at Dunge, near West Ashton, Rudge Hill, Frome, Poulshot, Broughton Gifford, Corsham, Steeple Ashton and Lacock before settling at Monkton Farleigh for the period 1947-60. From 1968, we shared a course with the Beaufort at Didmarton until 1975, with a brief interregnum to Siddington in 1974. In 1976, the races began an extended period of stability at Nedge, home to the Mendip Farmers, but when that closed due to a change of ownership, we enjoyed a season at Barbury in 1992 before settling at Larkhill.
In the early days, riders dressed in hunting garb; colours were not adopted until the early thirties. Results from as far back as the 1920s are peppered with Wiltshire farming and landowning names that are still very much to the fore now - Maundrell, Fear, Fuller. Plus ca change!
They say the role of Point-to-Point Secretary is dead men's shoes. There is rarely a volunteer to take your place! Step forward Captain Jack Applegate, who held the role for 48 years, no less, from the first fixture in 1912 to 1960, a feat unlikely to be matched in the modern era, given the endless demands of regulation.
Under the original constitution of the sport, no charge could be made for individual admission, but only for parking. Given the commercialization of the sport, that had to change and is now the norm.