Pointer Magazine 2014/15

Packed with all the latest news, views, action and reaction from people both inside and outside the sport.
Filled with interviews, fixtures, profiles and information this is a must for anybody interested in Point-to-Pointing.

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The Point-to-Point Racing Company
Sanders Road

Sponsors recognise appeal of point-to-pointing

British point-to-pointing’s popularity is underlined by fantastic backing from a wide range of national sponsors in the season ahead.

Leading brand names are among these sponsors, including iconic car manufacturer Subaru, which is involved for the first time – its range of vehicles fits perfectly with point-to-pointing’s theme of quality sport in the countryside.

The company is backing a series of races for horses at restricted level, culminating in a hunter chase final at Stratford. Paul Tunnicliffe, managing director of I M Group (UK), parent of the Subaru brand, says: “Subaru trades on its reputation as a vehicle for people who live and work in the countryside. Our ‘Subarural life’ credentials sit very appropriately with the sport, and this association will help our dealers to integrate into local communities. We look forward to generating interest in the sport and our vehicles.”

Cheltenham racecourse will again play host to the hunter chase final of Connolly’s RED MILLS’ intermediate series of point-to-points. UK business development manager Derek Fallon says: “We are delighted to be entering our eighth year as sponsors of the intermediate series, which has become an integral part of our UK marketing campaign. It sits well alongside our hurdle series and sponsorship of the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes, and highlights our commitment to the UK racing industry.”

Famous oven manufacturer AGA Rangemaster Group is back for a fifth year, but with a change of format – the company is now backing a wide range of races, plus championships for owners and women riders. David Simpson, the company’s commercial business development manager, says: “It’s a perfect time to widen our net because we have a product portfolio that includes a ‘new generation’ of electric cookers, and this exciting change of direction enables us to engage with a wider audience within the sport.”

The Jockey Club is backing 19 races for maiden mares at venues around Britain. Scott Bowers, Group Director of Communications at The Jockey Club, says: “We exist for the good of British racing, and we recognise point-to-pointing is not only a fantastic sport in its own right, but also important to the grass roots of horse racing. The pyramid has to be strong.”

Mares races are also a theme for the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, whose CEO, Louise Kemble, says: “We are looking forward to this renewed sponsorship. Our goal is to ensure we provide more opportunities for mares and a boost to the grassroots level of the sport, so we are delighted to be increasing our support from eight to ten races this year.”

Megan Nicholls, the daughter of multiple champion jumps trainer Paul Nicholls, won last year’s Dodson & Horrell PPORA novice riders’ series final, and later made the point that the series provides an opportunity for “young riders to aim at a final at the start of their career.” Sam Horrell, marketing director for the feed manufacturer, says: “I am looking forward to a new season and meeting some of our loyal customers who support and participate in the sport of point-to-pointing.”

World-renowned auction house Bonhams, specialists in fine arts and antiques, is backing 21 men’s open races, plus a hunter chase final at Cheltenham. Head of Marketing, David Johnson says: “We are delighted to broaden our sponsorship of the men’s open series to include an additional race in 2015. The championship continues to be an excellent platform for Bonhams’ nationwide network of offices, which offers local access to the flourishing international fine art market.”

A growing trend for proving young horses in point-to-points and then offering them for sale at public auction has led to auctioneers Doncaster Bloodstock Sales backing a bumper (National Hunt Flat race) for point-to-pointers at Aintree on May 15. Director Tim Kent says: “This is an exciting concept that can provide a goal for breeders, owners, point-to-point trainers and riders. Horses in Ireland often run in point-to-points ahead of a bumper opportunity and we are sure it is a model that will work well in Britain.”

In Devon and Cornwall, Exeter Racecourse are kindly continuing their Intermediate series with a hunter chase final at Exeter on Ladies’ night in the spring. Qualifiers are being held at the Black Forest Club, Tiverton Foxhounds, Weston, South Pool Harriers, East Cornwall, East Devon, Dulverton Farmers, Lamerton Spooners & West Dartmoor, and Eggesford point-to-points.

Further information

Clare Hazell – Point-to-Point Authority 01285 841920 clarehazell@p2pa.co.uk

Gwanako’s retirement

Point-to-Point trainer Rose Loxton announces the retirement of the prolific winning gelding Gwanako. The 11 year old, owned by The Stewart family, had won a total of over £240,00 in prize money in National Hunt. After a short spell with Richard Barber Point-to-Pointing, he joined Rose Loxton’s yard,  and soon took to the change of environment. Giving young jockey Megan Nicholls six Point wins and two seconds, also helped her gain the title of National Novice Lady, leading Wessex Area Lady, and the combination also won the Hunter Chase final at Wincanton in May this year. Gwanako also helped Rose Loxton win the National trainers title, for trainers with eight horses or less.

Rose quoted from her yard in Bruton, “I was unhappy with some heat in his leg, and it was confirmed that he had damaged a ligament in the back of his knee. He had damaged a ligament, when pulling up sore at Kingston Blount last season. The owners were consulted and agreed to retire him, he will now be laid off for the winter, he is going to Gemma Groves home, the groom who looked after him during his National Hunt days when he was at Paul Nicholls yard. The plan is that she can hopefully bring him back into work in the spring for maybe some team chasing.”

It was a double blow for Rose, as within a week, one of her other Pointers in training, Join Together sustained a leg injury whilst working at home. ” It was a freak accident.” Explained Rose. ” He just slipped when turning to canter up the field, he will be out for the rest of the season. One minute we were planning for the Foxhunter at Cheltenham, It just brings you back to earth, makes you approach everything differently.

Needing a companion for Current Event, who is trained at the yard, it was decided that the Sadler’s Wells sired gelding, Prospect Wells, would be transferred from Jack Barber’s yard. “This nine year old gelding has been off the track for 18 months with leg problems. He had run really well in National Hunt winning a Novice Chase. We are really excited to see what he can bring to Pointing.” quoted Rose.

With Megan Nicholls now turning to Flat racing, it looks highly likely that two young male jockey’s working at Ditcheat, Stan Sheppard who has come through the pony racing ranks, and James King who won his first Point-to-Point on Presentandcorrect at Lockinge in 2013, will have the opportunity to take on the rides.

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Trainer Feature: Maria Lewis

The great thing about point to pointing is that there are many trainers out there with just one or two horses. Donna Harris has been going behind the scenes to find out who they are and how they get their horses fit. Here is the first spotlight feature – Maria Lewis

Point to Point trainer Maria Lewis is based on the Devon and Cornwall border, at the Lamerton Hunt Kennels, where she lives with Huntsman husband David, and daughter Heidi.

She started riding at an early age at her local riding school and by the age of 11, had found a mucking out job at a local stables, where she was able to ride out in return for her labour. She attended the odd local show on any spare pony she could find. By the age of 14, Maria was offered many other horses and ponies to ride, until her parents moved to Devon, to a property with land, so she could have her own horses.

Once Maria started hunting, she met David. “He was the whipper-in to the Mid-Devon Foxhounds.  David loved his racing, and I was soon hooked on Point-to-Point,” stated Maria

The couple were soon married, and had Heidi, who  “was hunting at the age of 15 months, on her Shetland, and by nine, started pony racing, on a pony we bought called ‘Double Trouble’. By then we were all completely hooked!”

Heidi now works at Richard and Kayley Woollacott’s yards and is just starting on her third season as a point to point rider. Maria has never race ridden but she deeply admires and envies those who do, and wishes she had had the chance. “With Heidi involved in point to points at work, and having graduated from pony racing, it seemed natural for us to train pointers for her,” Maria said.

Her philosophy on training, is to keep all her horses out in the field as long as possible –  they are worked from the field until the weather turns. Once in, they are always turned out for half an hour per day. “I believe in a lot of walk exercise – we’re lucky that we are surrounded by hills, which really make them work. I am lucky that I have David, and between us we step up their fitness, and once the horses are up and fit to go, they go hunting fairly regularly until just after Christmas. Canter work starts in a large field, and then moves onto the Moors. We live close to Emma and Dean Summersby, who kindly let me use their schooling fences whenever I want. Heidi comes home to school them when she can, and we also have the option to loose school at Cholwell Equestrian Centre.”

The Lewis’s work hard, with their day normally starting at 6am, with Maria feeding, mucking out the two pointers and three hunters, whilst David is on kennel duties with the hounds. They both then exercise the hounds. “I exercise the three hunters, whilst David collects the fallen stock, a service this hunt still provides to the farmers. We then take the pointers in the lorry to the moors and gallop, wash them off and come home.”  The couple then deal with the fallen stock, after which David does kennel duties and Maria grooms and beds up the horses for the night.

Last season they had Tres Bien and Kawana Cove in training. “Tres Bien we had for Heidi for Novice Riders races, he ran honestly and gave his all, being a schoolmaster, he knew his job and taught both Heidi and us a lot during the season. He gave us some tense moments and a couple of placings which will not be forgotten. Tres Bien has moved on to a new home with Tash Dickinson as a schoolmaster. We are looking forward to seeing Tash have her first ride, and hope she enjoys him as much as we did.”

Kawana Cove had a few problems at the start of last season, which the team had to sort out. “He is a horse that needs firmer ground, which we didn’t really get until the end of the season. The trouble was he needed to run – we had a good fourth at Flete Park, which seemed to be the start of a better spell for him – followed up by a third at Upcott Cross in very wet ground, and a fourth at Bratton Down, where he stayed on well up the hill.”

At Umberleigh, with the firmer ground, Jamie Thomas took the ride on Kawana Cove, as Heidi had taken her yard ride on Pasternak Jack who is trained by Kayley Woollacott. Maria had been invited to watch the race from Jeff Guyett’s filming tower, and could hardly contain her excitement as the race unfolded with both her daughter and home trained horse both going well.  Kawana Cove gave the Lewis’s their first winner, with Pasternak Jack second with Heidi on board.

Kawana Cove is staying in training this season.Their new addition to the yard is Nudge The Nugget, a maiden who ran consistently last term. “We are looking forward to seeing what he has to offer, and he will be Heidi’s ride,” added Maria.

The team are delighted to have had support in the sponsorship of  Kawana Cove from Dartmoor Windows & Conservatories in Okehampton.

Maria prides herself with the turnout of the pointers: “I like to see horses turned out to a high standard, and have had my fair share of turnout prizes. The turnout money normally ends up back in the diesel tank!”

“I have an excellent race day team of my husband David, who I couldn’t do this without (he is also the lorry driver), our jockeys Heidi Lewis and Jamie Thomas. Sarah Ford is my right arm on a racing day, and she reads me like a book! David’s mum Margaret and sister Caroline are in charge of food and drink and David’s dad Gilmore makes sure they don’t forget anything. I would like to thank our farrier Steve Craddock who keeps the horses’ feet in good order, equine physio Katherine Davis who makes sure everything is moving properly and  Bill Lomas. horse dentist. We are very grateful to sponsors Dartmoor Windows & Conservatories of Okehampton and the Kelly family for the loan of Shadow on race days as travelling companion.”


Amateur Jockeys Association of Great Britain: skull cap rules: Important urgent message


Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

A number of Amateur Riders appear unaware of the recently updated standards for Skull Caps that came into effect from 1 October 2014. To avoid any further problems of Riders turning up to racecourses without the correct standard of Skull Cap, please note the change detailed below and ensure future compliance.

Also detailed below is the updated change to Safety Vest standards, which will have a direct effect on all Amateur Riders riding in races after 1 April 2015.

Skull Caps

From 1 October 2014 all riders must have a Skull Caps meeting either of the following standards: EN 1384: 2012 and/or PAS 015: 2011. If a Skull Cap contains two labels, as long as one of the labels is the most up-to-date standard it will be acceptable. Any Skull Cap that is not labelled or only has an earlier dated standard will not be allowed. Any rider without a Skull Cap meeting either of the standards will not be allowed to ride and will be subject to a BHA fine of £140.

Safety Vests

The updating of Safety Vest standards is being conducted in two stages:

· from 1 October 2014 Safety Vests (other than Level 1) must carry the standard EN 13158: 2009

· from 1 April 2015 all Safety Vests (including Level 1) must carry the standard EN 13158: 2009

Please note that you have on-going responsibility as an Amateur Rider to visit the Rules of Racing website (http://rules.britishhorseracing.com) on a regular basis to ensure that you are up to date with the Rules and any changes since your last ride.



PTPRC News 17 October 2014

The Point-to-Point Owners and Riders Club are planning to run a charity race in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund at the start of their meeting on Sunday 7th December.

They have a number of entrants already booked in, however they are seeking to supplement the field with a few more names – can you help find someone?

The Club are primarily looking for Point-to-Point personalities, but anyone will be considered if they fulfil the below criteria.

* The participant provides their own horse
* Sponsorship per entry is £1000

The race will be a flat race over one circuit of the course at Barbury Castle.
The day will also include a silent auction and any contributions towards this would be gratefully received.


For further details please email: robertkillen@yahoo.co.uk or ring on 07778 895803/01454 261764.

Alternatively, John Porter can be contacted on 01488 674242/07776 814166.

Robert Killen
Point-to-Point Owners and Riders Club Races
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New trophy announced for Mid Devon qualifiers at the Mid Devon Point-To-Point in February

The Mid Devon Hunt have announced there will be a new trophy to race for at Black Forest Lodge on February 1st.

A trophy will be presented to the first horse past the post in the Confined race, that has been qualified with the Mid Devon.

Megan Nicholls tweets about Join Together and Gwanako

gw0zFvl4_normal.jpeg Megan Nicholls (@meg_nicholls11)
14/10/2014 17:33
Gutted to announce that Join Together will be out for the season having had a set back & also Gwanako has been retired at the age of 11 Having been a legend to so many people. Huge thank you to The Stewart Family & looking forward to the season with the rest of the team.

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