Island Life Magazine Ltd February/March 2007 - Page 54

life - EQUESTRIAN It’s all about the love of horses, and the excitement of winning! Point to Point racing is open to everyone and over the years has become a very popular and competitive sport. Run by strict rules laid down by the Jockey Club we speak to Anna Reed (Island Born) to find out what all the excitement is surrounding the sport. Point to Point racing is becoming a very popular sport. The courses which in most cases are 3 miles long with no less than 18 fences averaging 4’ 6” can prove a tough days work for any fit horse. Currently there are 118 courses spread throughout the country of which some are permanent and some are setup on farms for just the one meeting. There are 198 point to point meetings throughout the season which runs from December through to the middle of June. There are approx 3,900 horses qualified to run in point to point races. Anna who bought her first horse Barts Castle in 1997 cost £900. Point to Point horses nowadays can cost anything from £1,000 to £20,000, although you find now that a lot of syndicates own point to point horses. Since 1997 Anna has had 17 winners on 6 horses. We ask Anna some questions about her years on the point to point circuit: Q. How did you become interested in Point to Point racing? I was Joint Master of the IW Hunt and I wanted to enter a horse in the IW Hunt Race, so I went and bought Barts Castle for £900 in 1997 and it ran a great race and was placed first. I was hooked from there on. 54 Barts Castle pictured in 1997 at Tweseldown running in the I.W Hunt Race. He was placed 1st. Anna bought Barts Castle specially for this race. Saffron Hill (middle) 2004 - The Mendip Farmers Ston Easton - Placed 2nd Q. Did you ever Point to Point when you were younger? A. No, although I used to help out now and then on the mainland, but that’s as far as it went. Q. How many point to pointers do you own? A. Currently I own two outright Saffron Hill and Millview and I own one jointly with a partner, called Firgrove. Q. Have you ever lost a horse in training? A. Yes, one of my horses broke a shoulder at Lark Hill and I had to have him put down, very sad. Q. Where do you buy your horses from? A. I bought Bart’s Castle from Newmarket privately, however nowadays I buy them from a dealer in Ireland. Q. At what age do you buy your horses? A. Normally around 4yrs old. Q. What’s the oldest point to point horse that you have run? A. Barts Castle ran at 13 years old and got placed in an open. I never sell my horses I always bring them home and they are used for hacking out, hunting or I simply retire them. Q. What’s the biggest prize you have won? A. You don’t do point to point for the money, the average prize for a winner is around £120-£150. You do the sport because of your love for horses and the thrill and excitement you get when your horse is placed first. I never back my own horses as my trainer says it’s bad luck! The sport is getting harder and harder because top class horses are now turning up at meetings. Q. Do you always go and watch your horses run? A. Yes, it’s a lovely day out, you meet all sorts of people and simply have a really nice day. Q. Is it expensive to keep and train point to point horses? A. Em...It can cost anything of up to £1,000 per month, but it’s worth every penny. Q. Is it expensive to insure point to point horses? A. No, simply because I do not insure them, it’s not viable as the insurance costs usually outweigh the risks. If sadly you lose a horse you lose your money, that’s the risk of point to point racing. Q. Do you vet your horses when you buy them? A. Yes, most certainly. Q. What do you look for when you buy a point to point horse? A. Confirmation, and whether the horse has the will to win. They must be very forward going and very alert. Q. Where do you train your horses? A. I train them on the mainland because they have to have a super degree of fitness to be able to run the course. They have a varied training programme, they may hunt one day, hack out the next, or simply go for a gallop. I always turn them out for an hour a day this is very good for them. Sponsored by Froghill and Brickfields