Want to give your views on pointing?

Here’s your chance – read the annual discussion paper showing what changes for pointing are being considered and send in your comments

5 March 2024

Issues under Discussion for possible reform for 24-25 Season

Dear All,

Once again PPA provides the annual paper indicating what is under consideration for amendment next season. The changes for this season were mainly to sort out small loopholes, except for the change in race conditions re the Restricted race. A little to my surprise, the latter has been a greater success than we could have hoped – more on that anon.

Whilst I have had some discussions and ‘directions’ in the field, most people seem to be relatively comfortable with the current race regulations, except where there is a lack of understanding, and this is borne out by the stats which indicate most race types are competitive. However, recognising that perception is often as important as reality, we have suggested a possible change to Conditions races which would make them easier to understand. NB What is of note is the reduction in older horses so far this season. We are not sure whether this is due to external effects such as weather, which has reduced engagement so far by certain demographics, lack of availability or lack of interest from owners. Its too early to tell but we are keeping an eye on it and would be grateful for comments on your own thought processes re purchase of horses.

At present we think the fall in horse numbers may bottom out this year. It is perhaps worth emphasising the point that the last 20 years has seen much greater falls in numbers than people realise but they have been masked by new entrants. This has changed the demographics of participants hugely from those who did it as a way of life to enthusiasts, and more obviously from owner-trainers to horses being with trainers. As an illustration, less than 10% of our jockeys are now farmers, and several of those are regular riders; alternatively, over 60% work in the racing industry – perhaps counter intuitively they make up a high percentage of our owner-trainers. Whilst there will continue to be debate on the reasons within the sport for these changes, the overriding factors are wider changes in demographics over which we have no control. Recognising this, we are seeking to adapt to these realities to encourage more entrants from wider demographics, and we are beginning to see some early signs of success. However, I believe it will be a while yet before the growing roots noticeably break the surface. In the meantime, the figures indicate that we have enough horses to have competitive racing through most of the season if all else goes well.

There are also two major changes in the offing. Firstly, fairly obviously, I am retiring, and it would be unfair to make major changes for my replacement to implement. Secondly, the underlying IT system on which horses are registered and entered is being closed. We are working on a replacement, which is both financially feasible and will provide benefits rather than going backwards. This may lead to the need for some changes which may seem out of place for pointing. To that end we are interested in hearing about which options you feel must be retained.

You will all have been thinking about the sport, and I am very hopeful there are some golden nuggets out there, as there are every year. Please do look at the possible changes below. Hopefully they will engender discussion across the sport, including with me in the field. However, I do want those thoughts fed back. The best way will be through representative bodies, such as PPORA, PPSA and BHSA, who have their own Committee Meetings and lines of communication into the PPA office and Board, the latter making the final decisions. However, for those of you who feel unrepresented, you can send letters to PPA Office or e-mails to [email protected]. There will also be the opportunity to ask questions and make your points at the PPORA Forum at Stratford at the end of the season.

NB It remains key that any changes are simple and cheap to understand and implement both at the fixture level and in the centre.



Peter Wright


Click here to read the paper in full