Weekly News and Updates
Last week was a quiet one as we had no runners so there are no post race reports. However we have two runners for the club this week as well as preparing for the clubs very first Point To Point race so we have prepared a feature on this ahead of the debut of our horse Clondaw Whisper who is set to race at the opening meeting of the point season at Buckfastleigh on 18th November.
Point to point racing-
What is it, its origins and what can I expect on the day?
Point to point (ptp) is a form of racing for horses owned and ridden by members of an affiliated hunt.
In Ireland the sport is open to licensed, professional trainers and it is used as a nursery for future National Hunt stars. The late Denman winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and two Hennessy Gold Cups amongst his distinguished career is a prime example of a recruit from the pointing scene as he joined the NH ranks after a victory in a 5 year old maiden ptp at Liscarroll in County Cork.
The phrase ‘point to point’ was first used in 1874 when a horse called Langar won a race on January 2nd that took place between Sutton-on-the-Forest and Brandsby.
The sport is linked to steeple chasing which goes back to 1752 when two neighbours challenged each other over a set of obstacles between two landmarks in County Cork.
In 1875 on the 12th January the Monmouthshire Hunt was the first hunt to run a ptp and in 1913 local hunts in Great Britain combined to form the Master of Hounds Point-to-Point Association where they issued a set of rules. By the mid 1930s control was passed to the National Hunt Committee and later in the 1960s to the Jockey Club.
There are 110 courses across the UK divided into 9 regions; Devon & Cornwall, East, Midlands, North, Scotland, South & Central, South, South West, and Wales.
Each meeting usually has 6 races on a card and races are generally run over 3 miles, although some are longer and run up to distance of 4 miles. Maiden races for young horses (aged 4 to 7 years) can be run over 2 ½ miles and is for horses that have never won a ptp or any race under any racing authority.
Other types of races include, an open which is either for male riders (Men’s), female riders (ladies) or mixed which is for both. An intermediate is for any horse which has not won any flat race (except NH) or any open or intermediate at a ptp meeting. Horses no longer have to hunt in order to take part in racing and this was changed in late 2016. Previously a horse had to have hunted 4 times in a season to qualify to race. However there are still types of races that require horses to have hunted. Hunt members or hunt races are for horses that have been hunted and qualified with the promoting hunt that season; they can also be owned by Masters, members, farmers or subscribers to that hunt(s). A confined is for horses that have been hunted and qualified with the promoting hunt or any of the qualifying hunts listed in the race conditions that season.
Each course must have a minimum of 18 fences and at least 2 must have ditches. Fences are made of birch and about 4 foot 6 inches high.
The minimum weight to be carried by a horse is 10 stone and the maximum is 13 stone (except for hunt member races) and this depends on the type of race. There is a weight for age (WFA) system in which horses are allotted a weight based upon age and there is a sex allowance in which mares and fillies carry less than their male counterparts.
Each season starts in November and finishes in mid June. There is no dress code but many of the courses are in fields so be sure to wrap up warm in winter and wellies or sturdy boots are a must have for the mud! They all have facilities such as a bar, catering and toilets. A lot of courses have trade stands where you can buy a variety of goods and some even have a Country Fair on the same day. The racing is family friendly as there is often children’s entertainment in the form of fairground rides or bouncy castles.
Betting is very similar to other racecourses with on course bookmakers as well as a Tote system. However not many tracks have card facilities so be sure to take enough cash for entry, betting and any food or drink you want to buy.
Most tracks are dog friendly if you want to take them with you although some courses do not allow them so be sure to check in advance and they must be kept on a lead at all times.
Entry costs vary from course to course but are usually less than official racetracks with some charging per car regardless of occupants rather than individual entry.
Gates open well in advance of the start of racing giving you ample time to study the form, enjoy some refreshment or anything else on offer!
Toolatetodelegate looks to be the only runner from the Brian Barr team as she has an entry for a 5f sprint at Nottingham on Wednesday and trainer Brian will assess the declarations before she is confirmed.
Time is running out for Haats Off to run on the flat again as the current season ends next Saturday so her next run is likely to be on the all weather where she has form.
Archie is doing well and cantering away. He sustained a knock to the head on the second day after his yard move that needed staples but it hasn’t stopped him from working. He is due to have his back checked this week which is thought will help him.
Call sign Charlie and Robin de Broome are still on the easy list.
‘Ginger’ Style Vendome x Little Shambles filly is going nice and steady and not being rushed as she is a typical chestnut filly according to Daisy. While ‘Nora’ the Swiss Spirit x Annie Kenney filly is now on the horse walker to prepare her for her move to a new trainer which are hoping to decide upon this coming week. There have been many great names put forward by members in the forum and we have drawn up a short list and are now researching their facilities and speaking with a few in detail to gauge their views on what they would plan for our horse.
Clondaw Whisper is continuing to delight trainer Daisy Hitchins in his preparation for his debut for the club. Daisy who is in her first season as a ptp trainer currently has 3 in training with Clondaw set to race in the 4,5 and 6 year old maiden at Buckfastleigh with Luca Morgan aboard. It is thought he will switch to race under rules at later date as he is considered a nice ‘bumper’ prospect for next year.
Henry Oliver is hoping Hard to Forget continues his education in a 2 mile maiden hurdle race at Chepstow on Wednesday where he could do with a little rain ahead of his run.
Rocket Ronnie is looking great according to Adrian Wintle and has a few options in mind this month at Ffos Las (11th), Kempton (12th) or Taunton (15th). He needs it ‘good’ so if it comes up soft he has an option at Chelmsford on the all weather on the 15th.
Finally Ian Williams gave an update on Machiato, “he is progressing nicely in fitness and his wheels (legs) are doing well. We have not asked any questions of him this year but I’m very happy with his progress.”