I AM an anorak, but not in the Bertie Ahern-associated way. No, I mean in the sense of someone who is extremely enthusiastic about, and interested in, things that other people may find boring.

I like details, facts, and when it comes to making decisions or judgements it is good to know what you are talking about. We can often find ourselves being influenced by perceptions, and many times these are ultimately not backed up by facts.

Sometimes the limelight can be taken by someone or something, and we then decide that the only way to achieve that success is to follow the same path.

If that sounds a little vague, let me give you an example. Four-year-old maiden point-to-points in Ireland are hugely competitive, and probably harder to win at times than many races on the track itself. They are also the nursery for, and source of, many of our leading National Hunt performers. For those facts and figures, I would respectfully defer to the point-to-point wizard, Richard Pugh.

As we face into next week’s July Store Sale at Tattersalls Ireland, it is worth taking a look at the profiles of the winners during the 2019-20 season Irish point-to-point season, and more specifically at the four-year-old maidens. We also have some idea now of how those winners have developed.

There were 72 successful geldings and fillies, and 57 of them were bred in Ireland. That is a 79% strike rate, or four out of every five races being won by a horse bred here. France, Britain and Germany supplied the rest. From the latter group the Grade 1 winner Vanillier emerged. Then consider the likes of Sir Gerhard, Bob Olinger and Brandy Love among the Irish-breds, and many other graded and listed performers, and you can see that there is a compelling case for shopping nearer to home.

Don’t get me wrong, and don’t think I am blinded by nationalism. I believe in competition, and appreciate a good horse wherever he or she is bred. As I write my Breeding Insights column during the jumps season, I give due recognition to winners, wherever they are bred.

However, I am aware that sometimes there is a perception about the Irish-breds, barroom and café talk that they don’t hold a candle to imports. Not true. They will always face challenges, but the message must equally be clear. Investing in Irish-breds is buying into a long history of success. That hasn’t changed, no matter what you might hear.

Check out the facts.