This week we're chatting to point-to-point jockey Charlie Marshall. Charlie is a pointing enthusiast, assisting his partner Hannah who trains pointers full time in Dorset. Charlie also works in farming, commonly spending many hours in a tractor having ridden out several lots. We are delighted that Charlie has joined the PPORA committee as an area representative and are excited for his input to improve the sport.
How are you involved in pointing?
I am a keen jockey based in Dorset but I also travel far & wide to ride every weekend. This year I have also taken on the role as the PPORA South East jockey rep; the area I originally started race riding.
What is your favourite aspect of pointing?
I love the way that pointing can bring so many different people from different areas & backgrounds together. As an example, we have some young horses to progress & hopefully sell, but alongside that owners who are enjoying an amazing experience watching the sport they love. Having a family that is fully invested in the sport makes it very special & is a great way to bring us all together.
How did you get into pointing?
I have been involved in pointing for as long as I can remember. I started by watching my mum train horses in the South East, ridden by my dad & other owner riders. When I turned 9 I rode in pony races & I thought it was the feature of the day at the time. I’ve now been riding in point-to-points for 9 seasons. I’m based in Dorset with my partner Hannah Clarke where we run a small but growing yard.
What is your day job?
I ride out in the mornings & work locally on farms. I love the balanced lifestyle & both work well together.
How would you describe pointing to someone who hasn’t been before?
Quality live sport, win, lose or draw everyone is there to celebrate or commiserate together with a large picnic.
What is your pointing highlight?
Riding my first ever double at Penshurst which is one of my local tracks. The place was filled with family & friends & we all celebrated well!
If you could change one thing in pointing, what would it be?
More live-streaming; it’s a great way to allow trainers to run horses even if the owners can’t make it. There’s been a few race meetings hosted by Charlie Poste & Sam Davies-Thomas which is a great way to make the racegoers on course & at home feel more involved as they have more of an insight into the horses & jockeys they’re watching. This also could draft in potential new owners.
Where is your favourite point-to-point & why?
It’s a hard one. I love all of the South East tracks as I have memories at each one. I think Parham would just about come out on top. I’ve had some of my highest days & some of my lowest there. It’s always brilliantly run with a good turnout of both runners & punters.
What is your role on the PPORA committee member?
I am the jockey representative for the South East area but am often travelling all over so please do pass on any suggestions I may be able to take forward to the committee!
How would you like to make a difference by joining the PPORA committee?
I would like to help & encourage more new riders to the circuit. Pointing very much relies on the owner riders as much as the regular faces seen in the changing rooms. If the regular jockeys have a query they often know who to contact but others may need help & guidance. I would like to help the sport run smoothly.
Explain the role of the PPORA alongside pointing & how being a member enhances the pointing experience.
The PPORA is an organisation that helps to voice anything that the general pointing community might be thinking. The PPORA runs closely with the PPA so any concerns can be taken forward. Being a member enables you to keep up to date with anything that might be changing & putting points forward in order to better the sport.
What’s your earliest pointing memory?
I remember going racing in the lorry when I was about 10 to Godstone, it was a very very wet day & Izzie, Alfie & I spent the whole day rolling around in the muddy tractor ruts in the lorry park. This used to be our pointing highlight at that age!
What do you think lies for the future of pointing?
Pointing is predominantly an amateur sport, I love that side of it, but there are now a lot of people that are running large businesses from it. I think that the foundations that have been set in are strong, trying to encourage new owners & more horses is always hard but trainers keep trying. Unfortunately, extreme weather is making seasons harder to cope with but having seen the work carried out but amazing volunteers this spring, we can only hope the enthusiasm stays moving forward.
Any hobbies outside of pointing?
Horses are my main hobby. If it’s not racing I’m normally hunting, dragging or team chasing. I also like shooting & catching up with friends. Playing cricket also keeps me busy in the summer.