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Andrew Merriam appointed chairman of Point-to-Point Authority Board
Former Point-to-Point Secretaries' Association (PPSA) Chairman, Andrew Merriam is to become chairman of Britain's Point-to-Point Authority (PPA) Board.
Merriam, who lives in Suffolk, becomes the fourth person to hold the role since the PPA's creation in 2008 – previous holders have been Robert Waley-Cohen, Simon Claisse and Tim Curtis.
Nick Sutton, who has acted as chairman in a temporary capacity since Curtis stepped down earlier this year, and retains that role until December, said: "After a thorough search I am delighted to say we have appointed Andrew as an independent director and the next chairman of The PPA. Andrew brings great depth of knowledge and experience of point-to-pointing, being a past chairman of The Point-to-Point Secretaries' Association [PPSA], in addition to owning and breeding racehorses with his wife Jean."
"Point-to-pointing is one of the grass roots of racing under Rules and makes a significant contribution to it, by providing a stepping stone for up-and-coming talent and by taking in horses who have raced under Rules. With that in mind, Andrew joins us at a critical time as we seek a share of funding from the increase in betting revenues that will be distributed via the newly formed Racing Authority. My colleagues and I welcome Andrew as our next chairman as we seek to put point-to-pointing on a sustainable footing for the next generation."
Merriam, who is currently a Jockey Club Deputy Senior Steward and British Horseracing Authority Director, has been actively involved in the sport for many years, most recently as a conduit for a Jockey Club Racecourses and Arena Racing Company initiative that saw coverage of the sport return to the Racing Post Weekender for the 2016/17 season.
Merriam, said: "I have been passionate about point-to-pointing throughout my life and have attended hundreds of meetings both as an owner, steward, husband of a trainer, father of a jockey, and in other voluntary guises. I see this opportunity to lead point-to-pointing forward during this exciting period as a great honour, and I look forward to serving the sport, and working with the PPA's stakeholders to ensure our sport thrives. I would like to thank my new colleagues at The PPA for their trust in me, and thank them for the work they have done to progress the sport during an unprecedented economic period."
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'The Belfry' is back for the 50th best of point-to-pointing
Point-to-pointing's annual Awards Dinner will celebrate its 50th birthday at a venue regarded by many as its spiritual home.
The Belfry Hotel & Resort near Birmingham – fondly known simply as 'The Belfry' – played host to the sport's National Awards Dinner for two decades from the mid-1970s. It has now been chosen as the venue for the 2017 celebration of point-to-pointing in Britain, which will take place on Saturday, November 11.
Centrally located, the Midlands venue offers easy access to followers of the sport from around the country, and has been chosen following feedback received from a public survey conducted at the start of the year.
ITV Racing's Luke Harvey will again host the occasion, which commences with The Fuller's Brewery Champagne reception, followed by the awards ceremony and a three-course dinner. Formal proceedings will give way to a celebration party until 2am, at which time guests can head to The Belfry's nightclub until the early hours.
Long-standing sponsors Fullers Brewery, Connolly's RED MILLS, Foran Equine Products, The Jockey Club and The Point-to-Point Racing Company are once again backing the event, although there are further sponsorship opportunities – contact the PPA for information.
Sheree Moutter, Special Events Sales Executive, said: "The Belfry Hotel and Resort is honoured to once again be hosting the National Point-to-Point Dinner. We're sure the awards evening will be a great success and look forward to working with the point-to-point community again."
Clare Hazell, Chief Executive of the PPA added: "We are looking forward to what promises to be another wonderful evening. The impressive venue is ideally placed and will ensure people from across the sport can come together to celebrate the achievements of another successful season."
The first National Dinner & Awards Ceremony was held in 1967 in London. The initial winners of the The Daily Telegraph and Sporting Life Cups, given to the leading male and female riders – and now sponsored by Fuller's Brewery – were David Tatlow (24 wins) and Pat Hinch (11 wins).
RACING ROGUES - a new book by Brian Lee
"The Scams, Scandals and Gambles of Horse Racing in Wales"
Horse racing may be famously known as the 'sport of kings' but, in the pursuit of prize money and getting one over the bookies, it also has attained a notoriety for some underhand, corrupt and downright illegal practices. Horse racing in Wales is not exempt from these dodgy dealings and on many occasions has led the way in it's ingenuity to devise jaw-dropping cons and cunning deceptions. In The Scams, Scandals and Gambles of Horseracing in Wales, Brian Lee, the veteran and highly regarded Welsh racing correspondent has, for the first time, compiled a comprehensive collection of true stories that reveals Welsh racing's most notorious crooks, loveable rouges and most infamous scams, including: The Oyster Maid affair, when a great gambling coup engineered at Tenby in 1927 nearly put paid to horse racing in Wales and was said by the Queen Mother's jockey, Dick Francis, to have been "the most bitterly resented betting coup National Hunt racing has ever known"...[more]
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