Seventh heaven for Some Man team
DAVID Christie featured recently in these pages and his achievements in the point-to-point field were recognised with the Red Mills Champion Pointer Award going to Some Man.
Winner of seven races this season, Some Man is a perfect example of David’s ability to rekindle the spark in a horse who had lost their way on the track. He was bought for £5,500 out of the Paul Nicholls yard.
The Co Fermanagh trainer has trained five horses to win 15 or more races between the flags. P.P. Hogan is the only other trainer to have managed that. Some Man now has 11 career wins in points and could be the one to give Christie the outright record next season.
No beating Billaway
BILLAWAY won the Tattersalls Champion Horse Award, which is awarded to the highest-rated horse to compete in points or hunter chases. Some 15 horses achieved a rating of 110 or above this season and David Christie trained five of them, but he couldn’t quite get the better of the Willie Mullins-trained Billaway, who won the big hunter chases at Cheltenham and Punchestown. The son of Well Chosen started his racing career in points for Tracey Gilmour before being sold for just £50,000 to owner John Turner.
With the owner at a family wedding last Saturday, and Willie Mullins saddling a winner at Royal Ascot, the award was collected by Closutton’s David Porter and Eilish Brennan.
From Royal Ascot to Royal County
STILL on a high from State Of Rest’s Royal Ascot exploits, Paul and Susan Cashman from Rathbarry and Glenview Studs were on hand to pick up the Goffs Champion Sire Award on behalf of Shirocco.
Best known as the sire of Annie Power, Shirocco (by Monsun) had 25 point-to-point winners this season and most of them were maidens, so there is a lot to look forward to. To cap it off, Rathbarry’s former champion Presenting was the leading broodmare sire in points.
Yellowbellies rule the world
WEXFORD has truly become the point-to-point powerhouse in recent years and not just for handlers and riders. Andy Pierce of Blackhall Stud in Enniscorthy is the Weatherbys Ireland Champion Breeder for this season, having bred four individual winners. Andy won the title previously in 2004.
Runner-up Jimmy Devereux deserves a mention as he bred three winners and stood the retired Publisher at his Rostoonstown Stud in – you guessed it – Co Wexford.
Play it again, Sam
SAM Curling got a great cheer when taking to the stage to collect the ITBA Champion Mare Award for La Feline. The seven-year-old daughter of Martaline raced 11 times last season and was never out of the first three, earning a rating of 101. Curling previously won this award with Longhouse Music who won 20 point-to-points.
New book on the way
PAT Healy and Richard Pugh have teamed up to produce a special book celebrating point-to-point racing. Point-to-Point, The Heart of Racing will be available from October 3rd and it features the best photographs from the Healy Racing archive, alongside Richard’s words which tell the history of the sport in Ireland.
No title but Mikey’s one of the all-time best
VETERAN rider Mikey O’Connor holds the distinction of being the person who has ridden the highest number of point-to-point winners but was never champion. His career total of 407 leave his six behind Enda Bolger who was champion seven times!
Jack knows how to get around in one piece
TAKE a bow, Jack Hendrick. He didn’t win an award but is the unofficial ‘Horseman of the Year’ having had only two falls from 87 rides this season.
Highland fling was the highlight for Rob James
SPARE a thought for Rob James. Second again to Barry O’Neill in the overall championship, he has finished in the top four every year for the past six seasons but has never been champ. He did win a Scottish Grand National this year though, and he is the only Irish amateur rider to have done so.
Tyners will be missed
ROBERT and Mary Tyner were given a round of applause in their absence for their contribution to points. Based in Kinsale, Co Cork, Robert recently announced his intention to retire from training. With over 240 winners between the flags, Robert is the third most successful handler since handler records began in 2008.
Entries increase a bonus for hunt clubs
MAYBE it was a post-Covid thing but the 13,500 entries made for point-to-points this season was the highest for nine years and provided much-needed funds for the hunts. The 3,000 hunter certificates issued was also a bigger number than in recent years.
Bill did it the hard way
BARRY O’Neill was not the only six-time champion rider in attendance last Saturday. Bill McLernon achieved the same feat between 1957 and 1973. His career total of 257 winners came in an era when the season was a lot shorter and the roads a lot bumpier!
Point and shoot for Sean
OFFICIAL photographer on the night was Sean Healy, the third generation of his family to cover the event.