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Catching up with ... Arctic Times

Catching up with ... Arctic Times

Catching up with .. is our new series featuring leading pointers, past and present.

We catch up with some of the favourites over the years and find out more about those currently leading in the pointing field.

This week in the spotlight is old favourite Arctic Times who, at the grand age of 22, is enjoying the green pastures of the Isle of Man on Trevor Hemmings' farm.

The prolific points winner ran in the famed green and yellow silks throughout his career, beginning his racing days in the care of Henrietta Knight in the UK, finishing fourth first time out as a five-year-old in a bumper at Kempton.

He ran a further five times for the Gold Cup winning trainer before making the journey to Lombardstown in Co. Cork where he would spend the rest of his racing days with Eugene O'Sullivan.

Arctic Times' first trip to the winner's enclosure came in a confined maiden in Dromahane on his first day as a seven-year-old, New Years Day in 2003, with his handler's brother, William on-board.

William O'Sullivan, whose son Michael is now riding on the point-to-point circuit, rode the Montelimar gelding to a total of 10 victories.

Two of these successes came inside the rails in hunter chases, at Limerick and Wexford during his first season in Ireland.

Those wins bookended a second place finish in the Aintree Foxhunters, a run which William cited as his personal highlight with Arctic Times.

It soon became clear that Arctic Times enjoyed himself on the pointing field far more then the track and clocked up a total of 28 wins by the time of his retirement in 2003. This feat was achieved when a horse could win no more than six point-to-points in a season, a rule which has since been abolished.

Remarkedly consistent, Arctic Times ran a total of 38 times on the point-to-point circuit, finishing in the top three on no less than 35 occasions. On the three remaining runs, he finished fourth twice and fell just once in the pointing fields.

The veteran performers final victory came at Dromahane with Phillip Hemmings onboard, providing a fitting end to a glistening career for the then 12-year-old, bringing down the curtain at the same Co. Cork where his winning days had begun all those years earlier. 

We spoke with Maureen Callow who looks after Mr. Hemmings' retirees on the Isle of Man and it seems Tim, as he is known at home, is very much enjoying life as an OAP. 

"Although he's 22 now he's still very playful and often likes to play fight with other members of the herd - he spends quite a lot of time on his hind legs shadow boxing.

"Unfortunately, he has a touch of arthritis in his off-fore knee so he also spends time flat out in the paddock sleeping. We often think it's his time but he's just sound asleep, snoring!!"

"He lives outside most of the time except in really bad weather, when he and all the other pensioners are brought in.

"Needless to say he's not too keen on being stabled and tears around the box at 100mph as soon as it's time to be turned out! Even at his age he has to be led out on his own after being shut in, as he dances and struts all the way.

"In total we have 14 'old boys' and they all live the life of luxury. Tim keeps very good company with Albertas Run, Hedgehunter and Ballabriggs amongst others."




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