Trainers lead way
Point-to-point end of season round-up
Colin Bowe retained his national point-to-point handlers' title in decisive fashion with a seasonal best tally of 45 winners, just two short of the all-time record set by Cork's Robert Tyner.
This was his seventh title in just ten years, and the Wexford influence at all levels can be gauged from the massive total of almost 200 winners sent out by 44 trainers from all parts of the county.
Wexford trainers filled three of the top four places, with Donnchadh Doyle sharing second with Sam Curling on 32 winners, four better than his previous best.
Denis Murphy was fourth on 25, equalling his seasonal best, and seven better than last season. He is just one short of the 200-winner career milestone.
Cormac Doyle, the youngest of the Monbeg brothers, shared eleventh place with ten winners, and Ellen Doyle, in her first season in charge at the Baltimore stable at Coolgarrow, had six winners to be just outside the top 20.
Bowe's career tally now stands at 330. He spread his wings far and wide and trained winners at 37 different meetings, 21 of them being four-year-old maidens.
Bowe, the Doyle brothers and Denis Murphy are at the elite end of the game and have turned point-to-pointing into a commercially successful enterprise, with big financial rewards also being enjoyed on a more occasional basis by the likes of Mick Goff from Clondaw, Richard Black from Bunclody, Liam Kenny from Craanford, Ashleigh and Michael Murphy from Duncormick, Brian Jordan, etc.
But there is a place in point-to-point for people at all levels of the sport, illustrated by the fact that of the 200 trainers who sent out winners nationally, 104 of them had just a single success.
Nineteen of the 44 Wexford trainers on the scoresheet had just one or two winners, and those brought just as much pleasure and enjoyment, if not more so, than the multiple successes of the big guns.
The likes of Benny Walsh, Cormac Farrell, Brian Jordan, Kieran Roche, Vincent Devereux, Andrew Latta, Denis Moore, Mark Scallan, John A. Berry and others are the lifeblood of the sport and they do so much to keep it alive at grassroots level.
The value of the horse and equestrian related activity to the Wexford economy is massive, encompassing all aspects such as racing, pointing, show jumping, breeding, breaking, livery facilities etc.
It is estimated that sales of point-to-pointers topped €26 million nationally this past season, and Wexford trainers and owners must have snagged at least €10m of that.
Less than a fortnight after season's end, the Wexford yards were very active last week at the Goffs Land Rover sale as they restocked for next year, splashing out about €2m in two days.
The Doyle brothers from the Monbeg operation paid out just over €1m on 25 horses, eight of them costing €50k or more.
Colin Bowe spent over €850,000 on 16 horses, going to €155k for a Flemensfirth gelding. He was jointly involved with Denis Murphy in four of the purchases, and he bought a Shantou gelding for €55k in company with Jim O'Neill, brother of champion rider, Barry. Murphy also bought a Presenting gelding for €65k.
Others noted in the market included Richard Black who went to €62k for a Flemensfirth gelding, James and Ellen Doyle who paid €165k for five.
Matthew Flynn-O'Connor signed for four for his Ballycrystal (Bunclody) stable, along with quite a few others from Wexford.
My thanks to the www.p2p.ie website for some of the details included here. I will be back for the new season towards the end of September.