Those who like to watch races from Ireland will encounter a type of racing known as Point to Point. While this race involves horses and riders, it is much different from the type of racing familiar to the fans of EZ Horse Betting. It can be exciting to watch these steeplechase style races, but many of them are not betting events. Here are a few things you need to know about the difference between Point to Point and thoroughbred horse racing.
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What is Point to Point?
Point to Point is a racing term that is generally exclusive to horse racing in Ireland. It indicates a race in which horses must jump over fences that are positioned at intervals on the track. In America and other regions this type of event is called a steeplechase. The steeplechase was popular at one time in the US. It even traditionally began the meet each year at Saratoga. Today, few steeplechase events are contested outside of Ireland, France, and parts of the UK.
The riders in a Point to Point race are usually amateurs that are looking to begin a racing career. Point to Point races in Ireland are seen as a proving ground, both for riders and for horses. Those who succeed in the events will go on to participate in the most prestigious steeplechase in the world, the National Hunt races. Some horses will not take to the style of racing and will either be retired or pressed into service in some other arena.
A Point to Point race is ran on a grass track that has fences placed at intervals. The horses must jump over the fences during the race. Going around, which can happen when a horse refuses a jump, is grounds for disqualification. The horse that crosses the finish line first is the winner of the race. Tracks may include turns, uphill and downhill slopes, and long straightaways.
What Kind of Horses are Used?
The horses that are used in Point to Point racing are all required to be thoroughbreds. In this regard, Point to Point and horse racing are exactly the same. Only thoroughbreds may compete in the racing events that are held at tracks like Santa Anita and Saratoga. The thoroughbred is a remarkable animal, and the only animal which can hold its average speed of 45 mph for distances of a mile.
Many thoroughbred horses begin their career as a regular race horse and then move on to the show arena or steeplechase events later in life. It is not uncommon for horses older than ten to be found in steeplechase events, but the horses used in Point to Point are almost always much younger. These horses are entered in such events so that their trainers may observe their skill level.
All thoroughbreds are descendants of three original stallions which were imported to England to sire race horses. These horses were the Byerley Turk from Hungary, the Darley Arabian, and the Godolphin Arabian. The Byerley Turk was the first of the three, and in recent years the animal’s origin has come under suspicion. Many now believe that it was foaled in England. Of the three, the Byerley Turk has been the least successful as the founder of a bloodline, and some predict the line will soon die out. The Darley and Godolphin lines remain strong.
Can I Wager on Point to Point Races?
As a general rule, the races that are ran under Point to Point conditions are not betting events. This is largely because the races can be very unreliable. The presence of rookie riders and horses, plus the addition of obstacles to jump over, often means that luck is just as important as talent. The most talented horse in the race could easily stumble or fail to clear a fence, causing it to be eliminated from contention.
A thoroughbred race is a much better betting proposition. The reason for this is that the races can be handicapped. It is possible for a bettor to use information to make an educated guess about the outcome of a race. The horses in thoroughbred racing also tend to be more true to form than those which compete in steeplechase events.
It is also uncommon for online racebooks to feature any Point to Point events on their betting menu. There is simple not enough interest to justify offering betting. But, you can still bet on regular racing when you choose one of our recommended racebooks. It only takes a moment to sign up and you can watch and wager from your computer, phone, or tablet.