P2P Q&A - Barry O'Neill
25 September 2020
What does it mean to have point-to-points back?
It is brilliant after such a long lay-off. Everyone is so
excited to get the ball rolling again. It is very important for the industry as
well. I just want to say that great credit is due to everyone who made this
happen to get it back up and running.
What horses are you looking forward to for the season?
I am looking forward to riding Winged Leader for David
Christie on Saturday in Necarne. I won a hunter chase on him at Down Royal just
before racing finished up in March. We will hopefully have a good campaign this
season with him. Also Handy Headon on Saturday again for David Christie in the
winners’ race. He was a new horse for the yard before lockdown and owner Ray
Nicholas who has been a big supporter of mine, so I am looking forward to the
season with him. He was third in a hunter chase at Down Royal in March and I won
a point-to-point on him in January at Tinahely. So fingers crossed.
What is your schedule like for the week?
I am based with Colin Bowe every day, who has about 90
horses in training. I school horses here and there for other trainers whenever
I can. Colin is very good that way, so I am very flexible.
What was the highlight of last weekend, having ridden
four winners on the first day of the season in Ballingarry?
My overall highlight was winning the 4yo geldings, but the
whole day was a big highlight to be honest. I thought if I had one winner I
would have been delighted, but to get four was brilliant. To see Marinero back
to winning ways again having won the Open Race. He ran well at the start of the
year, so I was delighted for his connections on Saturday. I think that Neon
Moon who won the 4yo geldings maiden is very smart.
Why do you think Irish point-to-point horses go on to be
I just think they get such a good education. The bar in
Irish point-to-points has been raised so high. It gives young horses a great
grounding and a great start to their career. It helps bring them along and
teaches them so much at a young age. This always stands to them down the line
in their careers.
All point-to-point 4yo Maidens in 2020 will be available to view on the ITM YouTube channel. Subscribe here.