Last Updated on:
Point-to-Point racing in Britain is the amateur version of steeple chasing. Races involve jumping fences over three miles and more, but not at registered tracks.
Hunter chases are similar but they take place at registered courses. Point-to-points and hunter chases are regulated by different authorities and horses qualified to run in point-to-points are also eligible for hunter chases. Due to the limited infrastructure on course point-to-point racing is also known as racing between the flags.
There is a major difference between point-to-point racing in Britain and Ireland. In Britain professional trainers are excluded but they can have an involvement by sending horses to unlicensed satellite yards. In Ireland licensed trainers can run horses in points.
Horses may be entered before running in National Hunt racing. An impressive point winner in Ireland will command a high price and many are sent to trainers in the UK. Bloodstock agents will take note of good Irish points winners who often then appear at sales across the Irish Sea.
In Britain tracks are laid out on ordinary farmland and horses run between two points. There are 110 tracks in various regions of the country. Bookmakers are allowed to take bets at point-to-point meetings but stakes are relatively low. Bookmakers will rarely issue ante-post odds on a point-to-point race as inside information about certain animals would leave them vulnerable to a betting coup.
The fences are similar to conventional fences at registered courses. The major Blue Riband races include the Heythrop Men’s Open and Lady Dudley Cup. There are open and maiden races on a typical point-to-point card which usually features six races or more at 40 minutes intervals.