Point-to-Point racing is now just as famous as the horse racing world itself. The amateur association has been a breeding ground for jump racing horses in both British and Irish racing, and it continues to uncover some future greats from Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Point-to-pointing is an amateur setup in name only, with many small trainers and jockeys relying on the industry to survive in the sport. The selling of talented young horses to bigger owners and trainers in Britain and Ireland is the lifeblood for a vast amount of people in lower-level racing.
What Is Point-to-Point Racing?
Once considered to be a fun hobby for people with thoroughbred horses, Point-to-Pointing was very rarely connected to the horse racing industry. Over the years, however, more and more talented horses made the step up to racing on the track, and with it came the exchange of large amounts of money.
In the present day, a quick scan of top races and a study of horses bet analysis across Britain and Ireland will show that the majority of runners have graduated from the point-to-point fields. Massive amounts of money are traded for the purchase of these horses, with rich owners keen to add some potential future stars to their portfolio of equine excellence.
Farmaclaffey One Of The Oldest Tracks
County Armagh has its own deep history in Point-to-Point racing and has one of the oldest tracks in existence. Since 1895, the testing track at Farmaclaffey has played host to Point-to-Point racing, and it remains to be one of the favoured tracks in the sport today.
The track is known as being a big challenge for young horses that are taking their first steps into the racing world, and any horse that manages to win there must possess a range of attributes that will stand to them as they progress on the track.
2002 Aintree Grand National winner, Bindaree, is just one of the future stars to have won at the County Armagh track.
Famous Graduates From Point-to-Pointing
The list of Point-to-Point horses that have gone on to become hugely successful on the track reads like a who’s who of some of the best jump horses ever seen.
Last year’s Aintree Grand National winner, Corach Rambler, and 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Minella Indo, are two of the recent former Pointers to hit the headlines, but there are plenty more stars that have gone on to enjoy exceptional careers at the top level.
One of the most popular horses to have made the jump from Point-to-Pointing to big race success in Britain is the brilliant, Denman. Fondly remembered as ‘The Tank’, Denman became a fan favourite for his never-say-die attitude, something that saw him win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2008.
When it comes to former Point-to-Point winners that have won the Gold Cup, one horse stands above the rest. Best Mate won a Point-to-Point race on his second start and would go on to become one of the best horses of all time. He would win three Gold Cups in a row in the early 2000s, and now has an enclosure named after him at Cheltenham Racecourse.