2016 m. rugsėjo 1 d., ketvirtadienis

Point to point racing - the begining of National Hunt racehorse career

It is a time of the year now then point to point horses are coming back into the yards in England and Ireland, or the young stock has been broken in a month ago or so and starts being exercised for the new point to point season which will start in December. By this time jump racing trainers and dealers should have gone to NH stock sales in UK and Ireland and got the exciting strings of horses for the next season. Stallion names as Kayf Tara, Flemensfirth, Milan, King's Theatre, Presenting, Robin Des Champs and Oscar (to name a few) will appear on the cards of stable doors, but horses might be still not named yet. It will be a few Stowaway's, Getaway's and Yeats which are fairly new stallions with exciting prospects.
One of the schooling sessions 
Cottenham, Opening Meeting (Norfolk)
 National Hunt horses are usually broken in then they are 3 years old, giving time for skeleton to grow up, as those type of horses are much bigger than flat racehorses. Some of the NH horses are coming into training from the flat racing yards, but those are usually going straight to hurdling but only few of them can be seen jumping big fences. After being broken in, horses will be trotted up on the hills for about 4-6 weeks or will go straight to trotting and cantering in the yards where interval training is more preffered than conditional. In a meantime, they will be loose schooled to get to know how to jump. After they got fit, jumping under the saddle will be introduced to them and after they got some accuraccy jumping hurdles or fences in a slow pace. To continue their training, work riders will ask more speed between the fences and horses will be nearly ready to race. These maidens will be expected to start running after the New Year, then they will turn 4 years old. Point to point racing nowadays is a very good place for dealers and NH trainers to test the youngstock over smaller fences than they're at under the rules racing. Also, there is plenty of meetings over the country with nice atmosphere, well maintained ground (many courses are doing meetings only few times a year) and all sorts of thoroughbreds. This makes point to point welcoming sport for people who wants to spend their weekend outdoors with a bit of a thrill watching racehorses running 3 miles on the usually wet ground and jumping from 16 to 20 fences. Therefore it is quite challenging for the 4 year old horse, maiden races at the point to point racecourses now are becoming right place for dealers or trainers to rise the price of their horse. Sometimes it does not look fair for people who are in this sport for years, training horses to give some fun for themselves and their owners without having a professional yard and finance to buy expencive and promising bloodstock to get beat by 40,000 pounds costed 3 year old, but this is how business works for dealers. And this is deaers are making big NH trainers life's easier by showing horse potential from his young days in training. Then you come pointing for the first time and do not have a clue why these fit horses are running here for a few hundred quit, thousands are left in question behind the scenes. It is amazing, how horse's price can go up from 40,000 up to 70,000 or 100,000 pounds after one or two wins in the point to point racecourse (especially if it is in Ireland) or it can down from 40,000 or 50,000 to a few thousands if horse needs more time or is actually more or less useless in racing field. 
But not only dealers are buying and selling pointers, some of the point to point trainers are very profesional and do not change amateur license into professional only because of support of their owners. England is country with lots of traditions behind and pointing is one of them. Winter here is not very cold, but quite wet and it is much better to have a reason to go outdoors with a bit of a thrill watching your horse running instead of sitting at home.
Kingston Blount meeting (Buckinghamshire)

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