Grand National Form: Point Barrow

Earlier in the week we looked at the Grand National Form of Comply Or Die. Today it is the turn of former Irish National winner, Point Barrow.

Point Barrow

Firstly, I must state a bias here. I have backed Point Barrow but I’m very worried about my bet.
I like to try and be open minded about horses who have yet to prove their stamina but feel much happier about parting with cash when the horse in question has proved they can stay at least 3½ miles and preferably further. So, Point Barrow seemed ideal.
I also particularly like the Irish National as a trial for the Aintree version. Wins for Bobbyjo and Numbersixvalverde as well as a big run from the 2001 Irish National winner David’s Lad in Bindaree’s year and of course Papillon also finished runner up to Bobbyjo at Fairyhouse in 1998. So, it appears that Fairyhouse’s stamina based test, aligned to its very stiff fences, make it a great prep race for Aintree itself.
Consequently, Point Barrow looked taylor-made to me when winning the Irish race in 2006. A win in the Pierse Chase in early 2007 further increased my confidence but we all know that things haven’t quite worked out since then.
I was prepared to forgive the first fence fall in last year’s National as just over exuberance and decided to back him again for this year’s big race after a very encouraging run at Gowran Park in January 08. The comment in the Racing Post the next day ‘kept on without threatening’ and this was just the kind of thing I wanted to see. It appeared that a softly softly approach was being taken. Excellent.
However, the next two runs have worried me enormously. It can be argued that the season is being geared completely to Aintree so the outcome of prep races could be misleading but the way he went from cruising to struggling at Haydock was, for me, very worrying. Also, the suggestion that he gurgled after Down Royal brings into question if he may have a slight wind problem? If that is the case it has to be very doubtful he will win a Grand National.

Topspeed and Blinkers

I’m less concerned about some of the other potential negatives brought up on other threads such as the low Topspeed figure and blinkers situation.
Topspeed is a good indication of class but this horse is an Irish National and Pierse Chase winner so I wouldn’t have thought there would be too many worries on that score. Blinkers? Yes, could be a concern as there does seem a smaller percentage of National winners than in normal races with headgear but I’m not sure it would be a strong enough argument for me NOT to back something I fancy. If I believe something is the most likely winner I’m not going to not back it because of a trend, much as I like using them. Form analysis first, trends as a back up – not the other way round? Otherwise horses like Katchit, Captain Cee Bee, Inglis Drever, Albertas Run etc etc would never have won at Cheltenham? Obviously I didn’t back all of those but I did fancy Katchit and everyone kept telling me a five year old wasn’t going to win a Champion Hurdle – it would have hurt me a lot more not to have backed my judgement and watched it win than back a loser. Something to debate on another thread maybe??!!

A much bigger concern for me than the blinkers issue with Point Barrow is if he is 100% likely to give his true running at Aintree. If he does then I think he is the one to beat but if there is any question mark about his breathing then I doubt he will be involved in the finish.

Are you a Point Barrow fan? Any fancy prices been availed of Pat Hughes’ chaser? Anyone read anything I might have missed about the horse’s breathing?

Give us your thoughts on this thread on all things Point Barrow related.

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9 Responses to Grand National Form: Point Barrow

  1. SILVER BIRCH says:

    Hi All – point barrow is one of my main bets and in racing parlance in terms of confidence i was travelling nicely throughout October – February convinced this horse was nailed on for Aintree Glory in 2008 . However my confidence began to come under heavy pressure in deepest february after a very puzzling run by old pb at haydock . He went from from travelling sublimely to being scrubbed along in a matter of strides . i thought he ran much better at down royal but seemed to be tapped for toe a bit when the race started in earnest . i agree admin that if this is related to his breathing then we have a problem houston… however i prefer to believe that over the past two years this horse has been plotted up for aintree to the detriment of evthing else and thats why his form figures are not truly inspiring . if anyone cares to look,his form figures for this year are almost a carbon copy of papillons in the year that he won.
    i still think that this horse is about 6-7lbs better than his current mark and if he stays on his feet i cannot imagine that he will be out of the first four. time will tell !! :-)(does anyone have stats for irish national winners performances at aintree over the past 10 years or welsh national winners ??.

  2. Russell says:

    Point Barrow is one that fits most of the trends and admittedly i backed the horse last year.

    However, this one is certainly not for me. Backers will point to his Irish National win in 2006 as a v good sign for Aintree glory in 2008 but on closer inspection, this is not awe inspiring form. Who did he beat? Oulart (1 length),A new story, American Jennie? Hmm…a much better run in the Pierse however under top weight on soft-heavy ground made for confidence. This horse is very easy to understand, it is a stamina loving horse who has a top speed that is frankly pathetic. In races where the ground is not soft, or the opposition is quality or the trip is not extreme he struggles.

    The National will NOT be run on heavy ground (he may get soft ground at best). The quality of the opposition will NOT be as bad as his Irish success. The trip WILL be extreme though.

    So overall, Point Barrow in my opinion will not be in the top 4 on good ground. If it turns very soft he has a chance but i would be shocked to see him win it in anything but a mud bath.

  3. admin says:

    Hi Silver,
    I have the fingers crossed that its not a breathing problem and I agree he could have a few pounds to play with if this has been a Papillon like plot up. Let’s hope so!
    I’m hoping to do something on the Irish National -Grand National stats comparison, just not sure if it will be before the big race this year but I’ll do my best!
    If anyone else has any figures, stats on other National winners that would be a very interesting read.

  4. Stephen says:

    I do agree that he is more likely to come into his own on the softer surface. However, his Irish National win was on ground that was officially Good.

    I am, and have always been, a huge Point Barrow fan. He has ran in all the top class Irish long distance races and is a dour stayer. I do feel that this is his last chance for Aintree glory, and that connections will be looking to do well after last year’s disappointment when he was sent off the heavily backed joint favourite.

    What will be interesting for me is the jockey booking. Pat Hughes wanted Timmy Murphy, but he will obviously be riding for Pipe/Johnson. The horse is clearly the star of the stable and for me still warrants huge respect in the National.

    If he pops over the first four fences in a nice rhythm then he could well play a role at the end of the race.

    If he fails once again this year then I fear Aintree glory will have passed him by.

  5. Miinnehoma says:

    Papillon – 875493

    Point Barrow – 0080403

  6. Miinnehoma says:

    Irish National Winners/Aintree.

    ’06 Point Barrow/A’07 Fell.
    ’05 Number6val./A’06 1st.
    ’04 Granit D’est./A. NR.
    ’03 Timbera/A. NR.
    ’02 The Bunny Boiler/A’03 PU
    and A’04 10th.
    ’01 Davids Lad/A’02 Fell and A’04 11th.
    ’00 Commanche Court/A. NR.
    ’99 Glebe Lad/A. NR.
    ’97 Mudahim/A’99 UR.
    ’96 Feathered Gale/A’97 PU.

  7. Miinnehoma says:

    How did I miss Bobby Jo and Papillon.

    ’98 Bobby Jo/A’99 1st. and A’00 11th.

    ’98 2nd.Papillon/A’00 1st. and A’01 4th.

    Thats it.

  8. Neil says:

    9 bets, 3 winners and a cracking profit!!

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