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Joe O'Shea

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

This week we caught up with enthusiastic point-to-point trainer Joe O'Shea. Having scored a winner on the biggest hunter chase stage with Cousin Pascal in the Aintree Foxhunters, Joe has his sights set high for his yard in the future!

How are you involved in pointing?

I own and train point-to-pointers.

What is your favourite aspect of pointing?

Arriving at the course with a fully tuned up horse, walking the course then telling the jockey in the paddock he only has to steer it to win and then going into the betting ring with high hopes!

Joe & Mr Briscoe with the trophies Road To Rome has won!

How did you get into pointing?

I used to ride out for a permit trainer in Bolton. He used to ride himself and invited me to go to the Holcombe point-to-point at Whittington; he won the hunt race for the fourth time on a horse called Captain Risk who was a big slow boat but the others were slower! I had a big bet on him and I went and bought myself a pointer called Shamrock Master. The following season he won eight races and I was hooked on this great sport.

What is your day job?

Trying to get my horses to a higher level of fitness than my opponents; each year when you're successful the bar gets higher.

James King & Cousin Pascal winning the Aintree Foxhunters

How would you describe pointing to someone that hasn’t been before?

The first thing I tell them is the cost of the training fees, running fees such as a set of shoes, expenses for winning jockey, diesel to races, entry fees and if you're lucky enough to win you might get £200! Then if they're still interested I tell them they want locking up! But a will get a great day out that money can't buy!

What’s your pointing/hunter chase highlight?

With a smile I can honestly say there are so many; winning the Aintree Foxhunters with Peter Clifton's Cousin Pascal was such a special day after trying for so long. Also winning the Walrus at Haydock Park for the fourth time this season meant so much to the team. On the pointing side of it landing big gambles with Cottage Oak, Lilbitluso, Road to Rome, Executive Benefit, Fair Exchange, Ravished, Willewonga and Envious Editor was extremely rewarding.

James King & Cousin Pascal winning the Aintree Foxhunters

If you could change one thing in pointing, what would it be?

I would make it compulsory that all grooms leading up horses in the paddock to wear hard hats and steel toe cap boots.

Where’s your favourite point-to-point & why?

I really enjoy going to any point-to-point course I have a runner because I know just how much hard work has gone into putting the days sport on, but I do look forward to going to Sandon races it’s a professionally run course that always makes sure the ground is safe and I like to reward their effort by sending the best horses I have available to run. I'm lucky enough to have had plenty of winners at this track!

Cottage Oak and Henry Crow en route to victory at Bangor point-to-point

What do you think lies for the future of pointing?

The future for pointing looks bright. Peter Wright did a great job over the pandemic period however but I like keeping things simple and the conditions races have become a little bit complicated! I do worry about the future of hunter chases with many professionals dominating the top races which scares the average pointing trainer from entering, keeping the fields so small.

What's your favourite aspect of training pointers?

I just love to see my horses improve from September when they come in, to getting them to race day. I look back on the previous year’s results and see where I made mistakes and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

"The best horse I have ever trained" - Envious Editor en route to victory

What is your current setup/training operation?

I just have four paddocks, eight stables and a feed shed, nothing fancy. My head girl Hannah and I have to work twice hard just to be equal.

Any hobbies outside of horses?

Walking the dog and sleeping!

Cousin Pascal & Ravished the day before the Aintree Foxhunters

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