Irish Point-To-Points

The grassroots of Irish National Hunt horse racing, where future Champions take their first steps. Point-to-Point (P2P) racing may be known as an amateur sport, but has proven itself as the forming ground for the finest equine and human talent.


The sport of steeplechasing was established by hunting men who raced their hunters over natural open ground from one ‘point’ to another ‘point’, hence the name ‘Point-to-Point’.  The first recorded race of this type was from Buttevant to Doneraile in 1752. The first official recognition of P2P races was in the National Hunt Rules of 1889.


P2Ps are run during a season beginning in October and ending in June. All races are run over three miles (around 4,800 metres). Horses jump between 12 and 22 fences. P2P jockeys are commonly known as amateur riders as they are not full-time professional jockeys. There are over 100 P2P fixtures held per season and these fixtures are organised by local hunt committees with the IHRB acting as the administrator.

Roll of Honour

Many P2P graduates reach the highest level when transferring to the track. Numerous Cheltenham Gold Cup winners began their racing careers in the Irish P2P field, including Best Mate (IRE), Cool Ground (IRE), Mr Mulligan (IRE), War Of Attrition (IRE), Denman (IRE), Imperial Commander (IRE), and Minella Indo (IRE).

The Aintree Grand National has proved to be another profitable hunting ground for Irish P2P graduates, with winners including Monty's Pass (IRE), Bindaree (IRE), Silver Birch (IRE), and Minella Times (IRE). Other high-profile Irish P2P grads include Champagne Fever (IRE), Florida Pearl (IRE), First Lieutenant (IRE), and Shishkin (IRE).

The P2P field also often acts as a starting point for young jockeys and has produced many top riders such as Ruby Walsh, Davy Russell, Paul Carberry, Timmy Murphy, and Adrian Maguire, to name but a few.

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