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Mullins makes the most of pointing connection; NEWS ROUND-UP.

Byline: RICHARD PUGH

WILLIE MULLINS has enjoyed a particularly fine time with former pointers in recent weeks. The Closutton trainer has long stated that the race he would most like to win is the Cheltenham Gold Cup and his closest efforts so far have come with former pointers Florida Pearl (who finished second and third) and Cooldine (fifth).

If he is to realise his ambition in 2012 it will certainly be with an Irish pointer as his three entries are all former pointers in Apt Approach, Quel Espirit and The Midnight Club.

Mullins' recent success has come with some high-profile pointers. Champagne Fever who was prematurely criticised in some quarters on his track debut when runner up in a Leopardstown bumper, elevated himself to the head of the Cheltenham bumper market with an impressive 13-length Fairyhouse success.

Some questioned the merits of his points success, but it should be noted that he was the highest rated four-year-old maiden winner last season, so those with real in-depth knowledge would have had the patience to wait for a performance such as this.

The criticism of his initial success came from one who admitted to having never heard of Quakerstown, which is one of the finest new courses we have had in many years in Irish points. In only two seasons it has produced smart sorts which include this weekend's Cheltenham placed Hard To Swallow and Oscars Business.

On His Own, the Thyestes Chase victor and Ballycasey are other recent winners for Mullins who emerged from points, while Boston Bob's victory at Leopardstown on Sunday was impressive as he shouldered a penalty to beat another top former pointer in Make Your Mark.

Rocky proves his worth ROCKY CREEK who won a maiden at Carrigtwhohill last season and impressed many, but was beaten, on his track debut for Paul Nicholls, showed much improvement last weekend on his second start when winning a Grade 2 contest at Doncaster, beating Gullinbursti. He is now a leading force for the festival's Albert Bartlett Hurdle.

Flemenstar was another high-profile pointer who was led out unsold at the Tattersalls April Sale last season at EUR200,000. The sceptics who suggested he should have been sold at that price must surely realise that he is now proving more valuable as one of our leading chasers.

The question of whether the best young horses can be accurately identified and therefore priced accordingly has been questioned in many quarters in recent months. Rocky Creek, Boston Bob, Champagne Fever Flemenstar and On His Own all suggest the answer is yes.

Vinnie leads the way IT IS an encouraging sign for the future of pointing that the depth of pedigree on show among the latest batch of hunter certificates issued is so strong.

The list is dominated by fouryear-olds, including Dunguib's half-brother Dinnies Vinnie, a son of Vinnie Roe in the care of Philip Dempsey. His owner Denis Cusack also has a half-brother to Beroni by Definite Article.

Champagne James is under the care of Roisin Hickey and is a brother to Aland Islands and Rory O'Moore. Gigginstown House obtained a cert for Thunder And Roses, under Pat Doyle, who is a half-brother to Shirley Casper.

Liam Burke has a nicely bred Catcher In The Rye called Zakopany, out of a half-sister to Make A Stand.

Tune into P2PTV LAUNCHED last week, P2PTV is the latest addition to p2p.ie and features Irish Point-to-Point-related footage. It is now showing features on recent award winners. There will be much free content but members will also be able to watch Premium-grade footage. More content and new features will be added in coming weeks.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Feb 1, 2012
Words:607
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