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P2P Q&A - Colin Bowe

15 October 2020

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How does it feel to have point-to-points back after such a long lay-off?
I am absolutely delighted to be back. The hunts are doing a great job. It’s being run very well and a credit to everyone involved. We have been lucky so far and seem to be hitting a good bit of form at the minute. There are lots of good horses to look forward to. There was a horse that won in Dromahane at the weekend called Starevitch. He’s out of a half-sister to Douvan and may be one for the future.

How did you get started in racing?
I hunted with my uncle James as a young fella. I went to Jim Bolger’s after the leaving cert in 1991 and just got an interest from there. I went to Aidan O’Brien for a little while and came home and started doing sport horses, which I did for about 10 years. When I got married, I said training racehorses might be a safer bet. We put in a gallop and gave it a go. Askanna (IRE) and Little King Robin (IRE) were the ones that got me going. I had a double one day in Fairyhouse where Askanna (IRE) won the G3 John Fowler Memorial EBF Mares Chase and Clondaw Kaempfer (IRE) won the Tattersalls Ireland George Mernagh Memorial Sales Bumper. There is nothing that gives me greater satisfaction than when the point-to-point horses go on to win on the track. All winners are great, but it’s nice to get the Grade Ones. I was very lucky at Cheltenham this year with three Grade One winners, Ferny Hollow (IRE) with Willie Mullins, Envoi Allen and Samcro (IRE) with Gordon Elliott.

What is your set-up like at home?
I am blessed with jockeys. Barry O’Neill, Rob James, James Kenny, Jordan Gainford, and Peter Kavanagh. Brendan Walsh is my assistant and looks after all the entering and booking jockeys. Keith Cogley is our head yard man organising all the schooling. Barty Walzcak does all the sales work and he’s with me the last 10 or 12 years. I have a few other real great lads riding out for me as well. We have about 90 horses in. We have a very good system there. The gallop is not too far away. We get about seven lots out before one o’clock. We have about 90% point-to-pointers. We break our own and I have a few good lads that pre-train for me as well. Within a 15-mile radius in Wexford there are probably about 700 point-to-point horses alone. It’s massive here. Donnchadh Doyle started off with me and ended up just down the road. 70% of the country’s point-to-point horses are probably in the Wexford area.

How have Irish point-to-points developed and why are Irish point-to-point horses so successful?
The whole thing has changed an awful lot over the last five or six years. When I started, I was buying horses for less than 10 thousand. We then started buying a better-quality horse so now the races have more depth. So today’s point-to-points are a good solid hunting ground for potential buyers, giving them confidence that if they were buying even a placed horse, they could still end up being a smart horse. Anything that wins a point-to-point should be able to win on the racecourse at some level and obviously the better ones kick on.

How do see the future?
There could be tricky times ahead, but we are investing heavily here. We will have to be taking every potential buyer very seriously and just work very hard to get horses sold. Maybe we won’t be able to be as brave as we’d like to be, but I think there will be buyers there. There is enough faith in Irish point-to-point horses for people to keep buying from us. Even if they get a bit of value this year we’ll get going again.

All Irish point-to-point 4yo Maidens in 2020 will be available to view on the ITM YouTube channel. Subscribe here.

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