HIGH PEAK HUNTFLAGG RACES - It is with very great regret that the Flagg Races Management Committee announces that Flagg Races will no longer take place. The Committee of FRMC met again to discuss the future of the Flagg Races and have concluded that it is no longer a viable event. The decision has not been taken lightly and those of you who have followed Flagg Races will know that it’s future has been in doubt for some time. Indeed there has been a flurry of support from around the globe, and the NW Point to Point Association and the Owners and Riders Club. Many others have rallied around with suggestions and offers of help. Nevertheless it was with a heavy heart that the Committee have, after much deliberation concluded that the event is too risky to itself and to its parent, the High Peak Hunt. Over the last few years the event has been plagued with unmanageable problems. 2013 saw cancellation due to the ground, the year before was cancelled due to snow, prior to that there was considerable expense trying to water the course due to hard ground, I should add a process that was frowned on at the time and could not be allowed to happen again. Foot and Mouth and ploughed courses have also forced cancellations with in the last 12 years. Of course weather is beyond our control but this factor was not the only reason behind Flagg Races demise. There are over 1000 man hours on the day taken up by a combination of volunteer and paid staff. Legislation and bureaucracy of Emergency Services, County Council and Point to Point Rules dictates that many of these staff now need qualifications in order to fulfil the tasks required. Such skills come at a price and this cost weighs heavily on the potential profitability of the event. Moreover the general community seems to be less keen to volunteer and when coupled with a diminishing number of supporters from the parent High Peak Hunt this also poses a huge risk in simply deploying the necessary numbers of people. It should be added though that there are a strong contingent including the Committee that would like to carry on the event but alas they only make a tiny percentage of the hordes of people that are actually deployed on the day. Akin to the staffing matter is the enthusiasm (and dare I say capability) of the aging population of helpers who would like to see fresh blood ‘taking the reins’. Alas as we see in so many areas of volunteer work, it is the same few who continue to do the majority. It was ever this but really, where are the younger contingent. Putting to one side the staffing and weather a major part of the decision was the state of Point to Point Racing. Again, the North West Point to Point Area , has identified a reduction in riders entries and declarations for its point to point meetings and this is a very sore area for Flagg Races. Previous events have seen the Committee turn its close friends upside down for race sponsorship only to be embarrassed by ‘walk overs’ and the crowds going home early. From a corporate perspective sponsorship is difficult and this too is exacerbated by poor racing or bad crowds and many ‘stalwart sponsors’ have confirmed they would not sponsor again. Point to Pointing and Hunting Folk will be wise, and understand that Flagg will be good going when elsewhere is hard, but they also know that good going arrives only when the weather is bad That bad weather of course puts off the punters and makes the project management very onerous. This balance between good going and the weather is a very sharp knife edge upon which the perceived success of any Flagg Races balances. Having recognised that Point to Pointing is in decline, the Committee have identified that the success of Flagg Races, in addition to the going issues described above, has deeper underlying constraints, in that it is possibly the most inaccessible event for the entrants sitting 30 windy miles from the A50, the M6 or the M1. It simply does not appear to be attractive to the runners, even if they were there. It is also believed by the Committee that the modern sport of Pointing runs on finely tuned horses and owners are not keen to run those horses over the ‘unkempt’ sheep grazing, found at Flagg Moor, preferring ‘tailored’ courses such as Bangor. Finally the financial situation cannot be ignored. Flagg Races has lost, in the last three years circa £20k, 2013, 2012, 2014. It simply does not have the funds to support another loss . Another cancellation stands to lose between £7k and 25k depending on the point of cancellation. Given all of the factors described it is a perilous gamble, to venture £7k- £25k with a hope that the weather, and the ground, and the runners, and the volunteers and the spectators are kind to us. In conclusion the disappointment of the decision is huge. I have been proud to have been involved in the highs and lows of the history of Flagg Races and have worked with many wonderful people in providing what was one of Derbyshire’s finest sport events. It will be missed. Times move on things change and Flagg Races has become unviable. The Committee is already working on new ventures to raise the profile of High Peak Hunt and provide funds raising activities on a more solid basis. We hope you will join us there. Nigel Clayton Pear Tree Cottage Main Street Calver Derbs S32 3XR 07717 200272
Flagg Races 2014 Suspended
As you know Flagg Races Management Committee has strived to create a profitable and successful Point to Point meeting over many decades and it is after much discussion, soul searching and consideration that we advise you that we are suspending the event for 2014.
The principle drivers behind the decision fall into 3 categories:
Frailty in both committee and non-committee volunteers.
Financial exposure to Flagg Races and the High Peak Hunt
Likelihood of attracting low numbers of runners and therefore providing poor sport for our spectators and supporters.
The committee is not at full strength and fresh blood does not seem to be available. The critical elements needed to stage such an event are in jeopardy without a fully committed team. Similarly the huge amount of volunteer support for setting up and managing the event during the day is also diminishing and again this is potentially, seriously detrimental to the success of the meeting.
The cost of staging Flagg Races is high. Cancellations cost dearly with over £15k being lost in the last two years due to weather related cancellations. Whilst the Point to Point Authority has been helpful, the existing funds are insufficient to cover the cost in the event of a last minute abandonment. This in turn threatens the High Peak Hunt's already stretch financial situation.
Our plan is to re-build the committee and look at ways to attract more runners in time to run in 2015.
If you are able to help in anyway, either by volunteering to join the committee, help on the day or sponsorship, we would love to hear from you.
contact in the first instance: Fiona Shipley on 01889 500223 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each year on Easter Tuesday, thousands of enthusiastic spectators enjoy Flagg Races on Flagg Moor, the thrilling spectacle of thoroughbreds racing across spectacular open countryside in the heart of Derbyshire's glorious Peak District National Park.
Flagg Races is unique as a Point-to-Point course in that it is the only remaining Point-to-Point meeting to run the Hunt Members' race over natural hunting country.
It's a wonderful day out for the whole family - please come and join us!
Doges are welcome on leads. Gates open @ 11am.
Pony Racing is followed by six Point-to-Point races.
Next page: The History of Flagg Races