The running of the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury is a significant event in the racing calendar. Yes, you guessed it, it means the point-to-point season is upon us.
It was great to see the race won by Colin Tizzard and Richard Johnson, who both have strong connections with UK point-to-pointing.
As a fresh-faced teenager back in 2002 I was just touched off in a reasonably valuable handicap chase for Colin on a horse called Millyhenry. That horse had started its career by unseating Joe Tizzard at Larkhill but subsequently won a hatful of point-to-points on the West Country circuit before spending a couple of seasons under Rules. The Tizzards are a shining example of how point-to-pointing can provide a platform and vital grassroots experience for progression to bigger things, and now, with a stable of stars, you would be a brave person to bet against Colin for the National Hunt trainers’ title this season.
Over the next six months a total of 181 point-to-point fixtures will take place (weather permitting), plus a further 95 hunter chases. These numbers are slightly down but I am not unduly surprised and do not think it should dampen enthusiasm for the season ahead.
It was great to learn recently that Skinner’s Pet Food and Cheltenham Gold Cup sponsor Timico are to be involved as national sponsors alongside long-established partners that continue to provide much needed support. I for one will be trying to win the Subaru Forester.
Ref Horse & Hound; 1 December 2016