On 18th April the Mid Antrim Point-to-Point will return to Ballymena after an absence of a decade.
It will be held at a brand new venue very close to Ballymena in the Caherty townland, near the Michelin factory, and the entrance will be off the Caherty Road, Broughshane.
The Clerk of the Course, David Crawford and his Assistant Paul Ferguson, are very excited by this new course which should provide excellent racing and it will be a great day out for all the family.
Children can, as usual, come into the course for free and, weather permitting, parents can take them to play on the complimentary bouncy castles if they get bored with the racing.
The race committee are very grateful to the McBurney family for use of the land.
Historically the point-to-point was held for many years at Galgorm on the edge of Ballymena, then it moved to Ballymarlow, not far from the new course, and in recent years has been held at Moneyglass, where the Higgins family have been so helpful to the organisers.
The committee are very grateful to welcome back their faithful sponsors who so kindly support the point-to-point, notably McBurney transport who are providing use of the land and are sponsors of the fourth race, the Open Lightweight Race.
The first race at 2pm will be for Maiden Four Year Olds and will as usual be sponsored by that great racing supporter, Wilson Dennison, through whose hands so many brilliant young horses have passed.
The second race is a Maiden Race for five year old Geldings and sponsored by Albert Bartlett and Sons Ltd who have also done so much for racing in many venues.
The third race, which is the Confined Hunt Race for five year olds plus, is a Memorial Chase for both Jack Russell, who sadly died recently and was Clerk of the Course in the past for over 20 years, and Andy Hamilton, who was a Master of The Mid Antrim Hunt until his death sixteen months ago
The fifth race is sponsored by another generous sponsor, Donnelly & Taggart, and is a Maiden Race for five year old and upwards Mares.
The point-to-point committee is delighted to welcome a new sponsor to the programme, Brendan Kerr, whose company, NewFerry Fast Freight, based in Bellaghy, are sponsoring the race for Maiden six year old and upward Geldings.
Brendan started hunting this season and has taken to it with great enthusiasm, with his wife, Maryanne, bringing out their daughter Eimear on a very small pony on several occasions.
This little girl, who has just turned three, must take the record for the youngest child to come out to start off with the hunt. Her mother prefers the dressage and has achieved notable success in spite of the demands of a young family.
It should be a very exciting new addition to the list of point to point venues in Northern Ireland, with great viewing, many new features and improvements, and extremely convenient to Ballymena
The committee is very grateful to McBurneys for this opportunity and look forward to a tremendous day.
The Hunt are extremely grateful to all the farmers over whose land they hunt and hope they will all bring their families to enjoy the day’s racing.
The first race is at 2pm.