Point-to-point Racing

Point-to-point Racing  Point-to-point racing, or ‘pointing’, is an amateur version of steeplechasing. Point-to-point races, historically known as hunt races, originated in the second half of the nineteenth century, as a means of keeping hunting horses fit outside of the main fox hunting season, which traditionally runs between November 1 and May 1. Much the same as steeplechasing, the name was derived from the fact that hunters raced, quite literally, from ‘point-to-point’ over open countryside and negotiated any natural obstacles they encountered along the way.

In response to the increased professionalism of steeplechasing in the latter part of the nineteenth century, point-to-point races were staged for for proper, certified hunters, ridden exclusively by amateur jockeys. Over time, such races came to be run on temporary oval circuits, laid out on working farmland, rather than between two points cross country. Nowadays, 110 point-to-point courses approved, but not licensed, by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) exist throughout the country.

The BHA oversees point-to-point racing, but delegates governance of the sport to the to the Point-to-Point Authority, whose directors include representatives of the Point-to-Point Owners & Riders Association, the Point-to-Point Secretaries Association and the Masters of Foxhounds Association.

At a local level, point-to-point fixtures are organised by a hunt, an approved club, society or association or the Armed Forces, subject to application and the payment of a fee to the Point-to-Point Authority.

 

Most point-to-point races are staged over distances of 2 miles 4 furlongs or 3 miles. However, ‘open’ and ‘conditions’ races, which are open to any horse, subject to restrictions and conditions, may be staged over longer distances, at the discretion of the course inspector. ‘Maiden’ races are restricted to horses that have yet to win a point-to-point steeplechase or any race under the Rules, while ‘Hunt Members’ races are restricted to horses owned by members of, or subscribers to, the hunt staging the fixture, or affiliated hunts.

Bryony Frost

Bryony Frost  In recent months, Bryony Frost has made headlines as the plaintiff in a case brought by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) against fellow jockey Robert ‘Robbie’ Dunne after allegations of ‘bullying and harassment’. In December, 2021, an independent disciplinary panel at the BHA found Dunne guilty on four counts of conduct ‘prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct and good reputation of horse racing’ and banned him for 18 months, three of which were suspended.

However, in happier times, Frost, 26, has made a habit of breaking records since riding her first winner under Rules, Current Event, trained by Rose Loxton, in the Northern Area Point-To-Point Association Scottish Foxhunter Chase at Musselburgh in February 2015. Two years later, she won the St. James’s Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival on Pacha Du Polder, trained by Paul Nicholls.

Frost became conditional jockey to Nicholls in the summer of 2017 and went on form a successful association with novice chaser Black Corton, on whom she would win six races that year, culminating in her first Grade 1 victory in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day. In 2018/19, she rode 50 winners, more than enough to ride out her claim and win the conditional jockeys’ title. In March, 2019, she rode Frodon to victory in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, making her the first female jockey to win a Grade 1 race at the March showpiece.

Lo and behold, on Boxing Day, 2020, Frost was at it again, winning the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on the same horse to become the first female jockey to win that race, too. Coincidentally, she also brought up 175 career winners, making her the most successful female National Hunt jockey in British history.Whether she continues to flourish in the wake of the latest unseemly episode only time will tell but, for her sake, and the sake of horse racing in general, let’s hope so.

 

Top 5 Funny Horse Racing Quotes

Top 5 Funny Horse Racing Quotes  A horse doesn’t know whether the rider on his back wears a dress or pants away from the track –
Diane Crump

 

“This is really a lovely horse and I speak from personal experience since I once mounted her mother.” – Ted Walsh – Horse Racing Commentator

 

 

 

A good jockey doesn’t need orders and a bad jockey couldn’t carry them out anyway; so it’s best not to give them any –
Lester Piggott

 

My horse’s jockey was hitting the horse. The horse turns around and says “Why are you hitting me, there is nobody behind us!” – Henny Youngman

 

A horse is dangerous at both ends and uncomfortable in the middle. – Ian Fleming

Sir Anthony McCoy

Sir Anthony McCoy  Sir Anthony McCoy, knighted in 2016 for services to horse racing, was simply the greatest National Hunt jockey of all time. Born in Moneyglass, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, McCoy rode his first winner on the British mainland, Chickabiddy, trained by Gordon Edwards, at Exeter in 1994, when conditional jockey to the late Toby Balding. By the end of the 1994/95 season, he had ridden 74 winners, enough to ride out his 7lb, 5lb and 3lb claim and, in fact, a record for a conditional jockey.

Having won the Conditional Jockeys’ Championship, McCoy proceeded to dominate National Hunt racing for the next two decades, winning the Jump Jockeys’ Championship every year until his eventual retirement. During a lengthy spell as stable jockey to Martin Pipe, which lasted for nearly a decade and yielded 1,154 winners, 100, 150, or even 200 winners became the norm, rather than the exception, as McCoy racked up championship after championship. In fact, in 2001/02, McCoy rode 289 winners in a season, beating the previous record held by Gordon Richards.

In 2004, McCoy accepted a retainer, reputedly worth £1 million a year, from leading owner John Patrick ‘J.P.’ McManus and, in his famous green-and-gold silks, continued his phenomenal career. His lowest seasonal total in the last decade or so of his career was 140 winners in 2007/08, a season which, by his own admission, was ‘turned upside down’, by a fall at Warwick in January. Damage to the vertebrae in the central section of his spine required an operation to insert metal plates, and cryotherapy, but he was still back in the saddle in time for the Cheltenham Festival in March.

All in all, McCoy rode 4,358 winners, including 31 at the Cheltenham Festival, and won most of the major races in the National Hunt calendar. His high-profile successes included the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice, the Champion Hurdle three times, the King George VI Chase and, of course, which he famously won, at the fifteenth time of asking, on Don’t Push It, owned by J.P. McManus and trained by Jonjo O’Neill. Having spent over two decades limiting himself to a single meal a day and sweating in hot baths to maintain his 5’10” frame at, or around, 9st 10lb, McCoy, unsurprisingly, gained over two stone in weight following his retirement.