Point-to-Pointing in Ireland
The sport of steeplechasing was originated by hunting men who raced their hunters over natural open countryside from one “Point” to another “Point”, hence the name we use today “Point-to-Point”.
The first recorded race of this type was from Buttevant to Doneraile in 1752. As these race meetings became more popular, the first official recognition of Point-to-Point races was in the National Hunt Rules of 1889.
Presently Point-to-Points are run during a season beginning in October and ending in June. They are all run over a distance of 24 furlongs (4,800 metres), however, on occasion, there are 32 furlong (6,400 metre) races. Horses are expected to jump between
12 and 22 fences. Point-to-Point jockeys are confined to Qualified Riders or commonly known as amateur riders.
The Point-to-Point field often acts as a starting point for young jockeys and has produced top jockeys such as Ruby Walsh, Davy Russell, Paul Carberry, Timmy Murphy and Adrian Maguire, to name but a few.
Point-to-Pointing in Ireland is largely referred to as the nursery or lifeblood of Jump racing. It gives perspective buyers the opportunity to see young horses gallop and jump and many point-to-point graduates reach the highest echelons of Jump Racing.
Several Cheltenham Gold Cup winners began their racing careers in the point-to-point field and such horses include BEST MATE (IRE), COOL GROUND (IRE), MR MULLIGAN (IRE), COOL DAWN (IRE), WAR OF ATTRITION (IRE), DENMAN (IRE), IMPERIAL COMMANDER (IRE) and NATIVE RIVER (IRE).
Other high profile winners include CHAMPAGNE FEVER (IRE), FINIAN’S RAINBOW (IRE), JONCOL (IRE), FLORIDA PEARL (IRE), FIRST LIEUTENANT (IRE) and SAMCRO (IRE).
The Aintree Grand National has proved to be another good hunting ground for Irish point-to-point graduates, including winners such as MONTY’S PASS (IRE), BINDAREE (IRE), SILVER BIRCH (IRE) and ONE FOR ARTHUR (IRE)
There are over 100 fixtures held per season and these fixtures are organised by local hunt committees with the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board acting as the administrator.
Full list of Fixtures