Welcome to Crossakiel

It was when the most exciting event of the year took place – the Ballymacad Hunt point-to-point races. School closed for the day, underscoring the importance of the occasion, and the roads from all quarters were dense in traffic. Women programme sellers with Coombe accents would leap on the running-boards of motor cars crying “racing cards, cards of the race-course, racing cards”. In a large field on the northern slope of the hill, billowing tents were set up and bookies’ stands and trick-of-the-loop tables. “If you’re not in, you can’t win. Three shots a penny. Five to one bar one”.

The race-horses galloped to the next field where the starting post was. They disappeared from view, and then a glimpse of moving colours against a dark hedge, then nothing more. Suddenly they appeared close, jumping the last fence, and a whipper-in in pink jacket galloped up and down, keeping the crowds back. The pounding hooves sent scraws flying, the jockeys bent over, flailing their mounts as the winning post neared, and a huge roar greeted the victor.
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