The event firmly established as Scotland’s number one point to point steeplechase meeting set new attendance records on Saturday, writes Craig Goldthorp.
Around 5000 fans – a record in the event’s 16-year history – attended the annual meeting at Crossford’s Overton Farm, which featured three kids’ pony races and six adult steeplechase contests ranging from two-and-a-half to three miles.
Overton Farm owner Willie Young Snr told the Times and Speaker: “The whole day went well.
“It was a big crowd and everything was very busy, as busy as it has ever been.
“I would say it’s right up there with our record attendance of around 5000.
“I was pleased with the whole day.
“People keep coming back because it is a social event.
“They take a lot of food and drink.
“We get busloads of people coming here.”
The happy, boisterous atmosphere on the day was boosted by the lucky punters who placed winning bets with the on site bookies, savoured the catering facilities, bar and hospitality tent.
The large crowd loved watching competitive races which included Gran Paradiso romping to success in the Men’s Open Race and Nicki’s Nipper seeing off its rivals in the Ladies Open Race.
Willie said that the low number of horses which participated – only three were in a few of the races – was merely a sign of the times rather than the fallout from the recent equine flu outbreak which rocked British racing.
He added: “The races were very competitive.
“We didn’t get as many entries as usual because a lot of folk who had point to point racers have moved to national hunt racing because there is more money in it.
“Kelso Races were also on on Saturday which didn’t help us.”
Pleasant weather, if a little chilly, was on offer at Saturday’s meeting.
And, unlike just about all previous 15 stagings of this annual meeting, there was even a bit of rain on the day which came as a shock!
Willie added: “We were very fortunate overall with the weather.
“We will leave that to the Big Man upstairs!”