With less than a week to go now until entries close for the Barbury International Racing Club Point-to-Point, owners, trainers and racegoers alike are eagerly anticipating the chance to see potential stars of the future, both between the flags and under National Hunt Rules.
In the three years since its inception, this meeting has broken new ground. It was the first point-to-point to feature a "bumper" (flat race) on its card, with two divisions being run at both previous fixtures, the first to open its races to international runners – with luminaries such as JJ 'Shark' Hanlon and Eugene O'Sullivan having visited the winners enclosure here – and the first to allow professional trainers to run their charges against the unlicensed 'keepers' of point-to-point horses, although few have tested themselves against the likes of Alan Hill and Phil Rowley to date!
The results at the two meetings held so far, in January 2017 and January 2018, speak for themselves. Last season alone, Bailarico won the opening Maiden over jumps for Eugene O'Sullivan, then was sold to Warren Greatrex and has since won five out of five on the flat for him. Another Maiden winner, Chris Barber's mare Definitelyanoscar, has won two races under Rules for Harry Fry, including her latest. Jake Slatter's Bally River Boy graduated from Maiden company to winning a Fontwell Hunter Chase and Nobby, who moved from Phil Rowley's care to Alan King's Barbury stables without having to leave the course, took a Warwick bumper last time out.
What's more, it's not just in the professional game that runners here have shone – Conditions race winner Lotus Pond took the prestigious Lady Dudley Cup, one of the four pointing "classics", in April for Mickey Bowen and William Money's success in the Novice Riders contest helped him to the leading horse title for fellow Welshman, David Brace.
"In its short life, the Barbury International fixture has demonstrated how British-trained and bred youngsters are rising through the ranks of pointing to become winners under Rules. Pointing on both sides of the Irish Sea provides a wealth of equine talent that is enhancing the professional ranks as well as providing a place for older horses to continue their careers successfully," said Peter McNeile on behalf of the Barbury International Race Committee.
The 2018/2019 Barbury International point-to-point, which takes place on Sunday 16th December at Barbury Racecourse, near Marlborough in Wiltshire, is the most valuable race day in the British and Irish Point-to-Point calendars, with prizes worth over £7,000 on offer, including the feature £1,000 Carter Jonas Barbury International Conditions race for 10yo+ over 3m6f. Entries for the seven races close on Monday 10th December at 12.30pm.
For more information, contact Peter McNeile on 07850 091523 or [email protected]