One month into the new season and there is much to be enthused about. The Tories bolted up in the recent election, with Boris Johnson able to peer gleefully over his shoulder crossing the finish line, while Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson were ultimately well beaten.
We have managed to lose only two out of nine pre-Christmas meetings, in what has been the wettest early season I can remember in a long time.
Furthermore, with the exception of the odd race (notably restricteds), the racing has been very competitive up and down the country; in terms of both quantity and quality. It is hard to draw any firm conclusions as to why this might be the case — but “less is more” could have something to do with it.
Barbury Racecourse staged its international point-to-point last weekend. It was created as a platform to showcase young thoroughbreds who might end up in the sales ring, and the organisers proactively encourage Irish handlers to bring their horses across and pitch them against our UK youngstock.
It was therefore pleasing to see a number of leading Irish trainers embrace the challenge and indeed grab a winner in the four- and five-year-old division. It is important for point-to-pointing that we think outside the box in order to raise the profile of the sport, so I am a great supporter of the initiative and think the organisers deserve much credit.
On the matter of sales, the Tattersalls Cheltenham sale took place last week, comprising a select bunch of 40 mainly Irish point-to-point horses. With an average sale price of £90,000 and the top lot making £450,000, hopefully events like the Barbury International can bridge both the form gap and price gap that exists somewhere in the Irish Sea.
Ref Horse & Hound; 19 December 2019