Well-known point-to-point owners Jeff Bird and Barry Belchem have sadly passed away – both men were victims of cancer.
Bird (pictured above with his good horse Repeat Business) died last month at the age of 63 having become a familiar face on the Welsh point-to-point circuit through horses trained for him by his brother-in-law Jonathan Tudor. They included Minsgill Mans, who won 13 point-to-points and finished fourth in the pointtopoint.co.uk Champion Novices’ Hunters’ Chase at Stratford, Repeat Business, who won seven point-to-points and landed the 2017 Dunraven Bowl at Chepstow, and High Hatton who scored nine victories between the flags and took third place in the pointtopoint.co.uk Champion Novices’ Hunters’ Chase.
Tudor said: “Cricket was Jeff’s first love, but when he met my sister, Andrea, horses came into his life. He became a very lucky owner and must have enjoyed 40 winners. He would go through sales catalogues, pick horses out, then I’d take a look and discard half of them, but it was a system that worked.
“He loved racing and with a few mates had a useful horse in training with Christian Williams called Monty Guiry that he had high hopes for. We miss him.”
Bird, who ran a garden centre in Cowbridge for many years before selling up and turning to property, leaves behind his widow Andrea and children Elis and Cadi.
Barry Belchem, who lived near Marks Tey point-to-point course in Essex, enjoyed his finest hour as an owner when the David Kemp-trained Moroman won the 2015 Pertemps Network Champion Hunters’ Chase at Stratford. More recently his colours had been carried by the useful Harmoney Row, and despite being ill with cancer he had bought a maiden horse earlier this summer to go pointing with Kemp.
The trainer said: “Barry was a good guy, a real saint and easy to deal with. He’s a sad loss to East Anglian pointing – his colours have been going around this area for decades.
“He had his own decorating and building business and a portfolio of properties, and he was certainly a worker. He was in his late 70s and had been ill for some time, but it’s sad to hear of his death.”