Darren Edwards: Don’t underplay the role of grassroots *H&H Plus*


  • The Point-to-Point Owners and Riders Association (PPORA) is one of a number of key stakeholders in the world of pointing.

    I’ve served on the PPORA committee for a number of years as a rider representative and now vice chairman, and so have had a great insight into some of the challenges faced by our amateur sport, but also become aware of the opportunities it can create.


    I have spoken many times in the past about how pointing can benefit our equine friends; however, it is important not to underplay the role “grassroots” racing serves in helping riders — something that quickly tends to get forgotten.

    I take great pride in watching young horses I have been involved with progress their careers on the “big stage”, but equally I enjoy seeing the young riders that have come through pointing do well in their professional careers.

    Pivotal to success

    I penned this columned having just watched Ben Jones give De Rasher Counter a fantastic ride to win the Ladbrokes Trophy on ITV Racing at Newbury.

    Less than 12 months ago, Ben would have been looking forward to a weekend of pointing in either the West Country or Wales. A very down-to-earth lad, Ben honed his race-riding skills around muddy fields in point-to-points and I am sure would vouch that those experiences were pivotal to his current success.

    This is the third straight Saturday — following Richard Patrick on Happy Diva in the Betfred Gold Cup and Harry Cobden on Cyrname in the Christy 1965 Chase — that former point-to-point riders have won feature races.

    At a time when pointing is facing significant fiscal and organisational challenges, I hope that the British Horseracing Authority do not overlook, or undervalue, the role it plays in helping keep National Hunt racing in the media spotlight.

    Ref Horse & Hound; 5 December 2019