IN the 2021-2022 track season no fewer than 81 Grade 1, 2 or 3 prizes were claimed by graduates of point-to-point racing here. At the same time as the pointing alumni have been racking-up those top-level successes, a whole new crop of equine talent began their racing journey in a bid to follow in their footsteps.

Here are 10 horses from the spring 2022 term that could join them in the years to come.

Four-year-old geldings

Barry The Butcher

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Walk In The Park – Iconic Mystery (Oscar)

Cormac Doyle

Heavy rain almost washed away the entire weekend’s point-to-point action on the eve of the Cheltenham Festival, traditionally a weekend that is specifically targeted by handlers.

The resulting concentration of those horses which had been aimed at it into the weekend’s sole fixture in Lingstown looks to have produced a red-hot renewal and undoubtedly one of the races of the spring.

On the day itself, Barry The Butcher proved himself to be a class apart from his rivals, aided by a top-class ride from Jack Hendrick who this season has very much announced himself as one of the sport’s top riders at present, to win by ten lengths.

Flash forward three weeks from that race and three of his six rivals came out and won four-year-old maiden races of their own across the one weekend, including the season’s top-priced pointer at public auction in Croke Park. This initial evidence points to Barry The Butcher as a real star of the future.

Better Days Ahead

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Milan – Bonnie And Bright (Topanoora)

Warren Ewing

Last season Warren Ewing introduced Constitution Hill through the pointing sphere, and the team of graduates flying the flag for his Bernice Stables on the track will be further bolstered by the impressive debut winner Better Days Ahead.

Things could not have happened any easier for the Milan gelding at Lisronagh in February, as he was clearly travelling all over his rivals around the home bend and had far too many gears for them as he eased clear in decisive fashion. He seems to be the real deal.


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Walk In The Park – Until Forever (Robin Des Champs)

Pat Doyle

There are few races in the calendar that can lay claim to a roll of honour as notable as the four-year-old maiden at Quakerstown.

In the years since Champagne Fever won the 2011 renewal, the race has been won by the likes of Bacardys, Next Destination and Brewin’upastrom, with a number of Grade 1-placed horses also on that list.

Pat Doyle was responsible for producing Bacardys for that 2015 success and his Foreverwalking had looked set to record a comfortable debut success coming away from the penultimate fence this year, only to show understandable greenness approaching the last in extremely challenging conditions. Ultimately the winning margin may only have been a head, but he has a lot of maturing still to do and looks to be an individual that has a lot more to offer.

Ittack Blue (FR)

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Coastal Path – Beauty Blue (Agent Bleu)

Matthew Flynn O’Connor

The Ballycrystal Stables of Matthew Flynn O’Connor has been responsible for more than its fair share of standout four-year-old maiden winners in the second half of the spring term, with Ittack Blue, the most recent of his three four-year-old maiden winners in 2022, shaping like a particular standout.

Making his debut at Punchestown just two weeks ago in a 15-runner contest, the grey had to be shaken-up to give chase to the previously-placed Waspy around the home bend.

But once finding full stride, he burst to the front and powered clear in relentless fashion to record a 16-length success.


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Ocovango – Funny Times (Silver Patriarch)

Matthew Flynn O’Connor

Also from the Flynn O’Connor academy, the winning distance of Wrappedupinmay at Dromahane last month was recorded as a distance, and whilst that margin was exaggerated by two final fence casualties, he was still upwards of 10 lengths clear of them prior to their departure.

That is due to the decisive move that he made from the third-last fence which swiftly had his rivals struggling to keep tabs on him. He would seem to have a very big engine.

Four-year-old mares

Between Waters

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Walk In The Park – Clear Riposte (King’s Theatre)

Sean Doyle

Between Waters is out of a Grade 2-winning King’s Theatre mare and it will be very disappointing if she is not able to emulate the blacktype achievements of her mother following her debut success at Lisronagh in February on the same card that also produced Better Days Ahead.

This Walk In The Park mare was always to the fore and as her rivals steadily came under pressure approaching the home bend, Jamie Scallan sat ominously motionless in the saddle.

Once Scallan pressed the button she immediately pulled clear and simply had far too much class for her rivals to win unchallenged. There have been some fine young mares to emerge from the pointing sphere and she right up with the best of them.

Look To The West

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Westerner – Brotenstown (Presenting)

Michael Murphy

Look To The West was one of the three subsequent winners to emerge from behind Barry The Butcher when she ran out a wide-margin winner of the same Dromahane maiden that Honeysuckle had opened her account in four years earlier.

Connections have not shied away from pitching their young mares in against geldings, a tactic that had paid off for them with the subsequent blacktype performer If You Say Run and Look To The West certainly offered a great deal of promise when taking on geldings in Lingstown before coming down at the last.

Her Dromahane return against her own sex saw her post an exhibition of jumping from the front as she made all of the running to win as she pleased by 10 lengths. She looks another likely blacktype performer from this stable.


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Pour Moi – Daboya (Hernando)

Pat Doyle

Kudasheva is out of a half-sister to the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack, and she enhanced an already notable page by backing it up with a debut performance at Ballycahane in March which pointed to her possessing an equally notable level of raw ability.

Making all of the running, she showed an unmatched turn of foot approaching the home bend to kick clear of her rivals, and she looked to be in command when left clear at the last.

Five-year-old geldings

An Tobar (GB)

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Gentlewave – Katalina (Hernando)

Denis Murphy

If the four-year-old maiden that Barry The Butcher won at Lingstown in March can lay to claim to offering unrivaled depth in that division, then Ballyvodock has the spring’s five-year-old equivalent. Five of the eight horses that finished behind An Tobar have since come out an won their maidens including the second, third and fourth horses, a trio that features Castleward who himself ranks highly among this season’s maiden winners following his own subsequent success at Dromahane.

That is all the more remarkable when you consider just how strongly the race has worked out, An Tobar did not simply defeat these now proven race winners, he destroyed them by 20 lengths with what seemed the minimum of effort. He has to be considered hugely exciting.


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Walk In The Park – Bollin Jasmine (Silver Patriarch)

Ellen Doyle

There was plenty of buzz around Borris House in March ahead of the debut of Demandrivingdouvan and his supporters had few moments of concern as he put up a very sharp performance from the front, in admittedly what was not an overly strong race.

He looks to be full of pace and certainly had far too many gears for those rivals and he was easily able to overcome edging to his left to win as he pleased by 11 lengths.