This week we caught up with a long time point-to-point supporter who has a very successful owners record too! 🏇 Jake Exelby is a point-to-point owner with his wife Caroline, a journalist for Go Pointing & racing enthusiast. His most notable horse would have to be Broken Eagle, who won 18 point-to-points from 24 starts & was most certainly a well-known competitor during his time. So, we switched it up & this time asked Jake the questions!
🏇 What's your favourite aspect of pointing?
I love the “access all areas” part of it. The fact that I can go to the box park, watch my horse being saddled, have a debrief afterwards… Unlike professional racing, there are few restrictions on where you can go – you can walk the course at your leisure, watch where you want, eat and drink wherever you please…
🏇How did you get into pointing?
I got into horse racing when I was a child & first went when I was 10. A year later, my parents took me to Siddington & I was hooked. I loved the informality of it, but best of all the yellow Pointerform sheet that you had to buy separately. Even at that age, I was a keen form student & really enjoyed the fact that it gave me an edge with its ratings and comments. Its compiler David Coulton – who’s still doing it 40 years later – is a true unsung hero of the sport. I persuaded them to take me more frequently in my teenage years – places like Andoversford & Maisemore Park; as soon as I started driving, I would go every weekend.
🏇 How would you describe pointing to someone that hasn’t been before?
Fun for all the family in a field! Like horse racing, but more relaxed and accessible! 🏇🦅
🏇What’s your point-to-pointing highlight?
I was lucky enough to own bargain buy Broken Eagle, who was one of the leading pointers of the last decade, winning 19 races and taking us to Cheltenham and Aintree. Two days stand out with him – a sunny Bratton Down when he jumped for fun and first indicated he could be something special, and the next season at Higham, where he absolutely routed a good quality field by 40 lengths in a very fast time.
🏇If you could change one thing in pointing, what would it be?
The distribution of fixtures. There are too many over the Easter and May Bank Holiday weekends, which often results in small fields – many once a year visitors get turned off by this and don’t come pointing again, which is a shame. For me, the answer is to spread out and rotate the fixtures so that any meeting that wants one gets a prime date every few years – why should the same meetings get the Easter date / last day of the season every year?
🏇Where’s your favourite point-to-point & why?
Didmarton is a long, galloping, old-fashioned course that often sees top-class pointers run there – particularly harking back to the heyday of Richard Barber. Bredwardine is quirky, laid-back and rural – and serves great draft beer – while I love pointing in Wales and miss closed tracks like the picturesque Lower Machen and the switchback Ystradowen.
Thanks Jake! Great to throw some questions at you & look forward to seeing you pointing in the coming season!