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Track Talk: Point the path to find way to Riches

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Road To Riches

Road To Riches

Road To Riches

The importance of Irish point-to-pointing has been highlighted on these pages before but last Saturday there was a very interesting morning at Willie Codd's stable in County Wexford.

Codd opened his doors to the pubic to give an insight into the running of a point-to-point yard and how a trainer in his guise attempts to nurture young horses, get them to show their promise in a point-to-point and then sell them on to race on the track.

Tell Us More was second in the Grade One Lawlors Hotel Novice Hurdle at Naas recently and he was bought by his current owners Gigginstown House Stud after winning a point to point for Codd last season and he made the tidy sum of £290,000 at Cheltenham in December 2013 after being bought for just €27,000.

Another talented type to go through the yard last season was Alisier D'Irlande who was bought for €52,000 as a three-year-old and sold to owner Roger Brookhouse less than a year later for £300,000.

importance

Codd explained the importance of starting horses off in this sphere as it serves them with a fantastic education before they go on to the racecourse and it isn't just the winners that go on to become household names of the future.

Denman and Imperial Commander are two Cheltenham Gold Cup winners to have graced the winners' enclosure of a point-to-point, but War Of Attrition is another Gold Cup winner who started down this route but he failed to complete when falling during a four-year-old maiden at Horse And Jockey.

While Codd and his owners are in the business of selling their pointers, JP McManus, Gigginstown House Stud and Alan Potts are three owners that readily use point-to-points as a starting point for their younger stock, which has made the industry a lot more competitive now.

Willie Mullins has been a purchaser of some high profile horses.

Champagne Fever is a dual Cheltenham winner who started pointing, and more recently there was a race at Maralin back in March that really impressed the champion trainer and his agents as they snapped up the first three home from the four-year-old maiden with Bordini and Bellshill already being impressive bumper winners and Mahler Lad, who won the race, yet to run this season.

field

Realistically, you just never know what star of the future you might see in a point-to-point field. Some will win impressively and immediately make you stand back and take note, while other may fall and prove to be unlucky or else race very greenly and look like a horse that may improve for the experience. Ireland's current leading chance for the Cheltenham Gold Cup is Noel Meade's Road To Riches who is a former point-to-pointer, winning at Sligo on his second start for trainer Martin Cullinane.

In fact, few who were at Sligo the day Road To Riches won would have known just what they were witnessing on the day. Road To Riches has obviously gone on to win a Galway Plate and two Grade Ones and is a leading Gold Cup contender, while the Open on the card was won by last season's Champion Hunter Chaser Tammys Hill.

Bonisland won the four-year-old maiden on the card and is a 135-rated chaser, with Briar Hill actually pulling up in the same race, and Jim Dreaper's Goonyella finished second in the winners' race.

Runners at point-to-point fixtures are down at the moment, but the prospect of hearing a lot more about the horses contesting the races is higher than ever.


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