The first recorded and now legendary match, took place in Ireland from Buttevant Church to St. Marys Church, Doneraile, in Cork in 1752.
The riders raced from the steeple in one church to the steeple in the second church, hence the name steeple chasing was born.
During the 19th Century, steeple chasing became more sophisticated with enclosed courses and professionally trained horses and the traditional amateur was not able to compete at this level.
Therefore attempts were made to stage races for amateurs, from which professionals were excluded. Local Hunts undertook to organise amateur races and the Atherstone Hunt was the first hunt to organise a meeting annually from 1870. This hunt still has a meeting today usually at the end of each April.
There were no accepted rules for these races until 1913, when the Master of Hounds Point to Point Association formulated a list.
In 1935, Point to Point racing was brought under the umbrella of the National Hunt Committee which runs professional jump racing, who brought in a new set of regulations which generally still stand today.
Point to pointing has often led the way for National Hunt racing to follow. Ladies were allowed to race against men in all races except Mens’ Opens in 1974.
Sunday racing with betting started with point to points.
As point to point fences are six inches lower than National Hunt fences, many of the top horses like ‘Best Mate’ and ‘Denman’ began their careers in point to points. It is an invaluable training ground for young horses and riders.
Each year there is a limited number of races at National Hunt courses between February and May that are confined to point to pointers.
They differ from normal races as the horses are not handicapped by weight in order to equalize their abilities - so the best horses tend to win.
These are good betting opportunities but you have to know a lot about point to point form. One effective method is to click on to www.hunterchasetips.co.uk where The Colonel will show you a way to win money on these races.
Content submitted by The Colonel.