HORSE racing will make a welcome return to the hills above Galashiels on Sunday April 16 when the Lauderdale point-to-point takes place at Mosshouses.

The race meeting, the first since 2019, will celebrate 75 years of racing at the scenic course.

Tony Hogarth, Chairman of the organising committee said: “The Lauderdale Point to Point was first run at Mosshouses, in 1948 on the second Saturday of March. It was a great day out after the war years.”

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“I remember going along, as a little boy, with my brother and being gobsmacked by the horses, the size of the crowds and the thrill of watching the races, which were very amateur in those days!”

“I have been hooked ever since, and over the years it has been brilliant to see so many people come to Mosshouses, where we have witnessed some fantastic racing.”

“Some top horses and jockeys have made the early steps in their career at the Mosshouses point to point. We now have pony racing as part of the day too, and this has proved a great starting point for future jockeys.”

Charlotte Dun, another member of the committee explained more about point-to-point racing and what visitors can expect:

“Point to point racing – for those who are unfamiliar - is basically just an amateur version of the more formal horse racing everyone will know from the television.”

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“Our Lauderdale meeting this year actually takes place the day after the Grand National, so I would encourage anyone to make a weekend of it – enjoy the telly racing on the Saturday and then come and see the real thing on the Sunday!”

“I’m lucky; like Tony I have experienced the thrill of race riding – there is nothing quite like it – having been involved in the sport from a young age; but the next best thing to actually riding, is being there to watch the horses.”

“The horses are the real superstars of the day anyway; it takes a special sort of horse, with the right stamina and willingness to jump and race, to go point to pointing. When you get the right horse, who loves the job, it is a pleasure to see them race.”

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“On the people side of things, it is a very passionate sport. There are families all over the Borders, the North of England and further afield training horses and getting them to the right level of fitness to race at Mosshouses in April.”

“It is a real family occasion, but not just for those families involved. It might be sunny, it might be wet, but a picnic and a day out in the Border hills, is always lots of fun.”

“Mosshouses is the highest racecourse in the British Isles, and the views are stunning.”

There is a long history of horse racing in Lauderdale and throughout the South of Scotland as Tony described: “Point-to-point racing now looks similar to jump racing on ‘proper’ courses like Kelso or Musselburgh. There is a parade ring where people can see the horses prior to each race, the jumps are laid out around a pre-set track, there are bookies for people who like a bet, a bar and catering tents.”

“But, essentially, we are carrying on a much older tradition, where farming and horse owning families, liked to compete to see who had the fastest horse across country. The racing was called point-to-point as it was run across country, usually with no defined track, from one point to another. The points had to be visible in the landscape, so often a church steeple would be used, hence the term ‘steeplechasing’.”

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“In this part of the world I believe there were races held from the tower at Bluecairn, round the Colmslie Tower and back again – 3 miles! Then in 1948 some members of the Lauderdale Hunt decided to set a circuit over the fields of Mosshouses and stage the first point-to-point meeting; in those days it was as simple as replacing the cope stones off the field dykes with turf, and that was the jumps made! Now we have proper birch jumps, but the course is still 3 miles over the fields.”

“I believe Mosshouses was chosen as it provides a great natural viewing arena of the racing. We have all of the public facilities on one hillside with a great view over to the opposite hill where the horses race - it’s like a natural amphitheatre. We really hope for a great crowd to come and watch the races this year and help celebrate the 75th anniversary.”

“We have moved to a mid- April date because the firmer ground we often experienced on our previous date in May, did not suit many horses.”

“The ground will be less dry and firm in April so we hope to have many more runners for the 7 races, plus 2 pony races, and we hope this will make for a really special sporting day for everyone who comes along.”

The 75th anniversary point-to-point at Mosshouses will take place on 16th April. All are welcome and further details are available on the Mosshouses point-to-point Facebook page and website.