The PPA is delighted to announce a new national sponsor for the 2020/2021 point-to-point season, in the form of Print Concern, an Oxford-based digital printing, data and marketing company founded by well-known owner-trainer-rider Tim Underwood.
The Print Concern Restricted Series consists of 20 qualifying races – with at least one in each of the 14 regional areas – culminating in a Final at Stratford on Friday 28th May 2021. Subject to Covid-19 regulations, the series will launch at the East Devon fixture on the opening day of the season, Saturday 24th October 2020, and visit venues as far apart as Friars Haugh, Wadebridge, Lydstep and Aldington.
In the Midlands Area the qualifier will be at the Pytchley meeting at Guilsborough on 7th March 2021.
Each fixture holding a qualifier – which will be known as ‘The Print Concern Supports the NHS Restricted Race’ – is receiving a payment of £600, plus mementoes for the winning owner and rider. It is hoped that the Final at Stratford will have total added prize money of £10,000.
Qualifiers (and the NHS) benefit from a special entry payment system, where owners/keepers will pay an entry fee of £40, all of which goes directly to the NHS.
The first four in any series qualifier, as well as the winner of any other Restricted race up to and including Sunday 16th May 2021, will be eligible for the final.
Print Concern are also supporting a new Restricted Champion points series, open to any horse placed in the first three in a qualifier. Points can be scored in any race, with the exception of Hunter Chases, and will be awarded retrospectively once a horse becomes eligible for the series. The leading horse will win £1,000 and the scoring structure is as follows:
|Maiden / Flat Race||4pts||2pts||1pt|
|Any other Point-to-Point Race||6pts||4pts||2pts|
I asked Tim, who has been involved in the sport for over 50 years, why he has decided to sponsor a race series and – more specifically – why he has chosen to do so to benefit the NHS.
“While I’ve ridden many winners,” Tim replied with a grimace, “I’ve had a number of accidents too – concussion, multiple fractures, over 100 stitches in my head… not forgetting a heart attack. Involvement with horses can be a hazardous occupation, so I wanted to recognise everything they’ve done over the years, for anyone attending point-to-points – not just us riders. We all rely on the NHS and nurses, doctors and other staff have endangered their lives for us during this pandemic. I wanted to ensure their efforts will not be forgotten. I’m hoping to raise a substantial amount”, continued Tim, “Although whether I can match Sir Tom Moore is unlikely.” If Tim does, he’ll probably want a knighthood himself!
Tim is likely to have “six or seven” horses to run from his yard at Beedon, near Newbury, during the coming season. These include stable stalwarts Cheltenham Mati and Templepirate and three – Irish imports Papal Present and Desperate Man, and the mare Kates Lane – who are eligible to run in the series of races he sponsors. “The latter two are both Maidens,” he told me, “But they should both win and be able to go through the grades. Desperate Man was bought for me by Martin Oliver from Colin Bowe and Mossy Fen, who beat him on his debut, is now rated 143. And someone I know, but who shall remain nameless, has had a decent bet on Kates Lane to be leading mare this year.”
However, it’s another member of the fairer sex – last season’s Larkhill winner Miss Massey – who’s the apple of Tim’s eye. “She’s turned herself inside out over the summer, and is so well, it’s unbelievable. I hope she follows in the footsteps of her half-brother Timmie Roe.”
Finally, I quizzed Tim – still race-riding at a sprightly 72 – if he intended to partner any of his horses in the series. “If I can, I can… and if I can’t, I can’t,” was his enigmatic response, before admitting, “I’m more likely to ride Tempelpirate than one of the younger horses. The hardest part is getting fit, but I’m definitely not retired yet!”