With the dawn of a new season now well and truly upon us, the buzz of social media is once again running a fever. I am definitely a maiden in the Twitter stakes but have this season succumbed to the craze and look set to #GoPointing @pointtopoint with @horseandhound most weekends for the next seven months.

One new stakeholder set to benefit from the point-to-point media spotlight for the first time this season is Subaru, which I see as a great brand to be associated with, and one that will now sit alongside other key national sponsors including AGA, Bonhams, Connolly’s Red Mills, Dodson & Horrell, Doncaster Bloodstock Sales, Fuller’s, the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association and The Jockey Club.

Having grown up during a period when the Subaru Impreza was the car every boy dreamed of driving, it is great to have their support. I do recall travelling with Neil Harris (rider of 213 point-to-point winners) in his Impreza from Somerset to ride in a Folkestone hunter chase and almost changing my view after frequenting what seemed like every other petrol station along the way!

Seriously, though, our sport needs and is extremely grateful to our new and longstanding sponsors and their input must never be undervalued.

One name that will be missed this season is Richard Barber who has retired after 25 years. He trained his first winner when I was two years old and has been responsible for hundreds since. His name is synonymous with pointing, notably in my West Country patch. It has, however, meant that I have finished second to more of his runners than I care to remember.

Richard’s retirement is a loss to the sport, but any hope of not finishing second to Barber runners in the future was dashed when I heard his grandson, Jack, will be taking over the mantle. Frustratingly,
if last season is anything to go by, he is just as astute as his grandfather!

Ref: H&H Thursday 4 December, 2014