Why racing legend Jimmy Frost is a massive believer in point-to-point racing
- Credit: Submitted
Jimmy Frost is best known with older racing fans for winning the Grand National in 1989 and with the younger generation for being the father of today’s successful rider, daughter Bryony.
However, not many know that he is actually in the Guinness Book of Records for being the youngest ever winning rider on the UK point-to-point circuit.
At the tender age of 13 he was victorious on Doctor Fred in the East Cornwall Hunt Maiden at the now closed Lemala circuit in 1971.
Jimmy tells the story: “I owe so much to Mr Aubrey Fuller, the Brixham vet, who had the confidence to put me up on Doctor Fred at 13.
"It was both mine and the horse's first appearance in public and amazingly we won.
"It was that win that launched my career and I have so much to thank Mr Fuller, who was a close family friend, for.
"Sadly, he is no longer with us but I will never forget him and the part he played in my life.”
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From that point it was all success with Jimmy eventually being successful 86 times in point-to-point before eventually taking the plunge and turning professional as a full-time National Hunt jockey.
“In those days you could ride in point-to-points or 'under rules' as an amateur. I loved doing both but eventually I was told I had to turn professional because I was winning too many races as an amateur and depriving professional of the chance to ride winners.
"I, therefore, signed up professionally with Devon trainer David Barons."
Most of Jimmy’s successes as a point-to-point rider came on horses trained by his father, Richard.
He has particularly fond memories of South Ham track Flete, where he rode more than 20 winners, two of which stand out.
“Dad's best horse was the mare Armagnac Princess who won in total 18 races under rules and won regularly at Flete in the early days of her career.
"I especially remember winning on Cannery Row there at 16 years old because my best friend rustled up £5 to back him, a fortune in those days, at 33/1. It was some party that night!”
Jimmy’s greatest individual success in point-to-point racing was at the sport's Cheltenham Festival equivalent at Larkhill on Joe's Farewell for which he was pictured in the Sporting Life afterwards.
Jimmy is a massive believer in point-to-point racing and its place in the development chain of National Hunt racing.
“It is a place where young horses learn their trade before entering the more competitive world of professional racing.
"When they become older and slow down, they can then return to the point-to-point circuit and with their acquired know-how, become great horses for young riders to learn their trade and gain experience on.
"Young horses can be educated by experienced riders and old horses can educate young riders.
"Bryony herself learnt so much from her time point-to-pointing and I was really proud when she won the junior ladies' championship before turning professional.”