Category Archives: News

LORNA BROOKE MEMORIAL QUALIFYING RACES

The tragic death earlier this year of Lorna Brooke left a big void in the amateur ranks and had a major impact in the closely knit weighing rooms at Point-to-Point and National Hunt courses along the Welsh Borders where she had accumulated so many friends and colleagues over the last 20 years.

A chance meeting between Judith Healey, Nickie Sheppard and Lorna’s father Alistair during the celebration of her life at Ludlow Racecourse in late May led to the creation of a series of Ladies Races culminating in a Final at the Albrighton & Woodland (South) fixture at Chaddesley Corbett on Thursday 2nd June.

All the events will be held in the newly established West Mercian Area, where every Ladies Open will carry the title The Lorna Brooke Memorial Qualifying Race, with Lorna’s family putting up the prize money for the Final and Mementoes. Entrance to the final is open to ANY horse that started in these qualifying events, and it is hoped they will keep Lorna’s memory at the fore front of our minds.

Harkaway Club Ladies Open on Tuesday 28th December 2021
Albrighton & Woodland (North) Ladies Open on Sunday 20th February 2022
Sir W W Wynn’s & Flint & Denbigh Ladies Conditions on Sunday 13th March 2022
Croome & West Warwickshire Ladies Open on Saturday 19th March 2022
Cotswold Ladies Open and Ladies Conditions on Sunday 3rd April 2022
Cotswold Vale Farmers Ladies Open on Sunday 10th April 2022
Worcestershire Ladies Open on Saturday 16th April
North Shropshire Ladies Open on Monday 18th April
Berkeley Ladies Conditions (Level 1) on Saturday 23rd April
Final – Albrighton & Woodland (South) on Thursday 2nd June.

Brooke had her first Point-to-Point ride on Highway Five who finished fourth in the North Herefordshire Ladies Open at Whitwick Manor in February 2000.  Iain McKenzie who is not known for throwing compliments around like confetti later wrote “Ridden with great pluck and no little skill by Lorna Brooke who looked very tidy in her first season”.

She rode her first winner on Hag’s Way in a Novice Riders race at the P.P.O.R.A. meeting at Barbury Racecourse in January 2002 and also won three races later in the season, two wins on Joshua’s Vision and another win on the aforementioned Hag’s Way at Garnons.  This resulted in her winning that years prestigious Princess Royal Trophy and she also won the Welsh Borders Ladies Title on at least 7 occasions.

Although based in Powys and riding horses prepared at home by her mother Sue, Brooke provided Phil Rowley with his first success under Rules when The General Lee won a Ludlow Hunter Chase in March 2011. Brooke won seven races on Judith Healey’s and Jim Squires horse, which explains Judith’s involvement with this new Championship.

Lorna also rode in many races abroad and represented her country on numerous occasions. This started in 2010 when she represented at GB team who rode in the Anglo/Irish lady jockeys’ challenge at Limerick.

Lorna finished second but when the return match was held at Newton Abbot a year later Lorna rode her first winner over hurdles with Grand National winning jockey Rachael Blackmore finishing 3rd.Lorna also rode on the flat and in Arab Races as Sarah Oliver, Chief Executive of the Amateur Jockeys Association explained “She represented GB in Arabian racing, riding both in Bahrain and Poland and Abu Dhabi. She also represented GB riding in Mauritius in 2018 and 2019 and as part of a GB Ladies Team on the Flat in Germany.”

INEOS GRENADIER TO SPONSOR MIXED OPEN SERIES

 

•    INEOS Automotive will be title sponsor of INEOS Grenadier Mixed Open Series
•    Sponsorship will provide nationwide backing of 16 Mixed Open races and the Hunters’ Chase final at Cheltenham   The rugged and uncompromising INEOS Grenadier 4X4 is set to launch in 2022 with reservations now open 

The Point-to-Point Authority is delighted to announce INEOS Automotive as the new title sponsor of its Mixed Open Series, which will get underway in November 2021.

The three-year national partnership coincides with the launch of the widely anticipated INEOS Grenadier 4X4 in July 2022. The British-designed, rugged and uncompromising off-roader is being built to meet the extreme demands of its customers. Perfect for towing a horsebox and tackling challenging terrain, the highly capable vehicle is an ideal fit for a countryside-based sport with strong ties to Britain’s farming and rural communities. 

Gary Pearson, Head of UK and MENA at INEOS Automotive, said: “The desire to build a vehicle with the versatility to meet the needs of those who live, work and play in the countryside has been at the forefront of our ambitions since the early development stages of the Grenadier. Engineered to be a capable and reliable workhorse, it’s fitting that the Grenadier will be forming such strong ties with the Point-to-Point Authority, not only to provide financial support for the sport, but to also build stronger relationships with a community this vehicle has been designed for.”

Peter Wright, Chief Executive of the Point-to-Point Authority, added: “This is a very welcome new national partnership, focusing on a series of mixed open races leading to a valuable final and involving some of our leading horses. The Grenadier 4X4 is a perfect fit for point-to-pointing and the wider countryside community.”

INEOS Automotive will be sponsoring 16 mixed open point-to-point races at venues from Scotland to Cornwall, and West Wales to East Anglia, with each race worth £1,000 in prize money. The first four horses from each INEOS Grenadier Mixed Open race, plus the first two from any other mixed open contest, will qualify for the £10,000 INEOS Grenadier Mixed Open Hunters’ Chase final, to be run at Cheltenham on Friday, May 6.

Somerset-based Will Biddick, who trains Britain’s top-rated hunter chaser Porlock Bay, said: “Our first aim is to get Porlock to the Cheltenham Festival, but he had a light campaign last season, and a race like the INEOS Grenadier Mixed Open Hunters’ Chase in May could well become the next target. It’s good to have a decent pot to aim at, and it’s marvellous that such a big company is supporting the grass roots of horse racing.”

Shropshire trainer Philip Rowley, who has won Cheltenham’s Mixed Open Hunters’ Chase three times, said: “Most sports need a bit of a lift after disruptions caused by Covid, and for a company like INEOS to come in is great news. I’m hoping we have a horse good enough to run in the final and Salvatore might be the one. His owners are point-to-point people through and through, and he’s a horse who wants a bit of decent ground, which we should get at Cheltenham in May.”

For more information about the INEOS Grenadier, visit ineosgrenadier.com

 

 

 

 

 

Jumps season bursts into life at Chepstow

Worcestershire handlers wrested some valuable prizes from the weekend’s opening salvo as the Jumps season burst into life at Chepstow’s admirable Season opener. This sterling effort by the Monmouthshire course to stage a two day card worth over £400,000 without a hint of TV coverage shows what can be done with willpower and persistence.

126 runners competed in the 14 races, and whilst one or two of the races ran up light, the big handicaps were rewarded with excellent fields. This is a longstanding stomping ground for Messrs Nicholls and Hobbs who flex their muscles ahead of back to back Saturday prizes from here to the end of next April, and followers of the West Country pair weren’t disappointed. 

However, handlers from the West Mercian area had come prepared too. Smart hurdler Does He know, representing Kim Bailey, was last seen a 20l fifth to Bob Olinger in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle at the Festival, but opened his chasing account at the first time of asking in the Tom Malone Bloodstock Novices Chase on Friday with a fluent staying performance.

Tom Lacey successfully transitioned Tea Clipper to fences with a comprehensive 3l victory in the listed Dunraven Windows Novices Chase the following day over 3f shorter. Tea Clipper evidently has a penchant for Chepstow; his sole victory in 2020-21 was at this corresponding fixture when winning the Wasdell Group Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle.

The Dunraven Group is owned by trainer and entrepreneur David Brace, who also sponsors Fergal O’Brien’s winner machine a mile along the road from Kim Bailey and within hailing distance of the point-to-point course at Andoversford. And it was Connor Brace, whom he coached through a season of pointing before turning conditional that came good for his Ravenswell employer in the John Ayres Memorial Handicap Chase with Paint The Dream, also on his seasonal bow, and owned by his father. There will be smiles all week in Pyle no doubt. 

Paint The Dream continues to improve, and this assertive win indicates there may yet be more improvement. 

Meanwhile, among the older horses, Some Chaos kept up the early momentum attained by Michael Scudamore’s Bromsash yard in the 3m Veterans Chase. Taking it up 5 out, this 10 year old winner of 6 of his 12 chases made the race his own and won readily. He’s just the sort to capture a following on the Jumps scene where punters love older horses whose running style adds value to their betting.

Meanwhile, another fixture that captures the public interest took place in the Czech Republic yesterday when the 131st Velka Pardubicka took place over the extraordinary fences and course in Pardubice. Sadly, there was no British or Irish entry for the race. In fact, lest one get too smug about the superior quality of Jump racing in these shores, no British runner has been ridden or trained to win this race since the now retired Charlie Mann who trained and rode It’s A Snip to win in 1995. 

In an increasingly international market for Jump racing as well as the Flat, a Pardubice experience should be on any aspiring owner’s bucket list, but the home team is always well prepared. Yet at the end of this 4m2f slog, just one length separated winner Talent, ridden by Pavel Slovic, from the runner-up. Let’s hope both can be persuaded to travel over for the Glenfarclas Cross Country at Cheltenham. 

NICK BOSTOCK FEATURE

The following is part of the Pointing People series produced by Jake Exelby.
This one features the new Joint Secretary of the West Mercian Area Nick Bostock.

BHA Senior Racecourse Judge Nick Bostock is also a mover and shaker on the British pointing scene, not just in his native North West (now merged with the West Midlands and Welsh Borders into the new West Mercian Area) but nationwide. Jake Exelby spoke to him about a love of pointing that dates back to when he was a “babe in arms”.

How did you get into point-to-pointing?

I’ve been going since my early childhood and it’s always been a way of life. My grandfather had a useful pointer – Clodhopper – in the early 1960s, my Dad was a farmer, and a regular racegoer and punter, and I went to pony club and hunted.

Clodhopper in action

I trained my first pointer – Ballylough VI – when I was 16 and had my only ride on him a year later, at Garthorpe. I was far too inexperienced as I’d graduated to him from a 13.2 hands pony and had only jumped three schooling hurdles in my life. I was a danger to myself and everyone else, lost an iron and pulled up instead of causing carnage! At least I had the sense to do the right thing… and ticked the box for riding in a race. (The annual describes Nick’s experience as “Rider lost control, and went rushing up a hill whilst everyone else turned downhill”!)

I then went to work for local pointing trainer Sid Taylor – at that time, if you were paid to work in racing, you couldn’t ride in points – and then became entries secretary for the Pendle Forest & Craven meeting in the late 1980s when I was working for Robert Leyland. I met Richard Ford at about the same time when he started pointing and used to saddle his horses. When I gave up working with horses because I needed financial security (!) I kept up my interest in pointing.

And racecourse judging?

Through a friend who was doing it, Mark Ritchie-Noakes. I was racing one evening at Kelso when he asked me into his box and I thought, “I fancy doing this myself.” It took 18 months for me to get a foot in the door working for the Jockey Club – as a flag man – then two years later there was a vacancy for a part-time judge and I was lucky enough to be offered the position. My first meeting was Market Rasen on Easter Monday 2000, I became the Team Principal (to give me my correct title@!) in 2009 and now I manage a team of ten.

I first judged at a point-to-point at Eaton Hall later that same season and still do it if required – I think I’m the only person who judges both under rules and between the flags.

Who have been your favourite horses?

Richard Ford’s Nenni – who I was once lucky enough to hunt – was my favourite pointer. He won at the Vale of Lune meeting for nine years in a row and didn’t retire until he was 17.

Of those that I was involved with myself, Hornblower, who won plenty of races for Richard’s wife Carrie and – most importantly – Tortula, who I trained myself for my late wife Barbara. Richard won on her just a few days after he’d won the Aintree Foxhunters on Rolling Ball.

Hornblower wins again: a younger Nick (second right) with wife Barbara (holding trophy) and jockey Carrie Ford (right)


Tortula winning with Richard Ford at Flagg Moor

What are your favourite courses and why?

Flagg Moor stands out, as it did for a lot of people. Clodhopper won there, as did Tortula. It was a unique venue with great scenery and on a nice day, it was God’s own country, but it could throw anything at you and it wasn’t easy to get runners there, as it could become very testing.

Which jockeys have you most admired?

When I first started going, it was the people who used to ride for my family – men like Sir John Barlow and his twin brothers George and Mark and ladies like Margaret Bourne. She later owned Madge Hill (ridden by Kirkland Tellwright, who’s now Clerk of the Course at Haydock Park).

More recently, Caroline Robinson – as the first lady jockey to win at Cheltenham and Aintree – stands out, along with Richard Burton, our perennial Area champion.

Who’s inspired you most in the world of pointing?

Peter Wright has been an absolute star in recent years for what he’s done to keep pointing going – it could have died. It’s not just what he’s done, but the way he’s approached it.

What was the rationale behind the new West Mercian Area?

We used to have 15 meetings in the North West but are now down to six and just four courses – Bangor-on-Dee, Eyton-on-Severn, Sandon and Tabley. Some of our courses became unviable – we lost Weston Park because they held the V Festival there, which was a shame because it was a great venue and Whittington had two meetings and a huge crowd at its Easter meeting.

We also have fewer trainers. Sheila Crow has retired and the likes of Sam Allwood, Oliver Greenall and Gary Hanmer have gone under rules and taken their owners with them.

What would you do if you were in charge of the sport?

I think we still need to lose meetings but we’re losing them from the wrong part of the calendar. The horse population’s contracting but because the Easter and late season meetings make money, you have crowds but not enough horses, whereas at the early season meetings you have quality racing, but not the weather to attract spectators.

However, I’m a realist and don’t have the silver bullet. The hunts control the fixture list and it can’t be centrally managed. Take the North Staffordshire – they’ve raced on Easter Saturday since the 1950s and wouldn’t hold a meeting if they couldn’t have that slot.

What changes have you seen during your time for the better, and for the worse?

As a former entries secretary, I really think the Weatherbys entry system works. I’m a centralist – which can be controversial – and a big fan of Conditions races. I was the first person to put on a race for trainers who’d had fewer than three winners that season and having the flexibility to innovate produces races that don’t cater for the same people week-in, week-out. You have to try new things.

On the downside, it’s lost some of its local feel. You used to do everything in your own area and local farmers had a pointer, which their sons rode. The next generation doesn’t come along as much any more – Caroline and Immy Robinson are exceptions to the rule in our area.

Do you have hobbies outside racing?

Apart from walking the dog, sadly not! I even go racing on my days off.

What’s been the highlight of your time in the sport?

Two years ago, I was given the Sir Michael Connell award for my contribution to the sport – a personal highlight that I was flattered to receive.

I wonder what Nick’s saying to startle PPA Chair Andrew Merriam as he receives his award? (photo: David Simpson)

What do you think the impact of lockdown on pointing will be?

Next year will be interesting and a turning point in how the sport recovers from COVID. Will Easter still be the golden egg, or will Joe Public spend his leisure pound somewhere else?

What are you most looking forward to about next season?

The new area, getting to see more courses and working with the likes of Nicky Sheppard – she’s a driving force!

What do you love most about pointing and what motivates you to do so much to help?

It’s the personal involvement with like-minded people – win, lose or draw, you have a good day out.

I’ve grown up with pointing and, while I only rode once and have had limited ownership opportunities, I want to give something back. Racing’s always been my hobby – I used to pay to go and now I’m privileged to work in the sport, so I like to help out so that other people can enjoy the sport I love.

Barbara – who I lost this time last year – was a true point-to-point fan who loved having a horse to own and train. She’d have wanted me to carry on.

SCHOOLING OVER KNIGHTWICK FENCES FROM 17TH OCTOBER

Fences at Knightwick Races have been re-birched in readiness for the fixture on Sunday 14th November
 
Schooling will start from Sunday 17th October
 
Line of four plain fences and an open ditch fence
 
If you would like to book an appointment please email schooling@knightwickraces.co.uk
 

THOROUGHBRED BREEDERS’ ASSOCIATION BACKS 4-YEAR-OLD SERIES

 

Britain’s the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA) is to sponsor a breakthrough series of races for four-year-old maiden pointers in the Spring of the 2021/22 season.

The five races will take place between February and May and be known as The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Four-Year-Old Maiden Series. They will be held at Chaddesley Corbett (Worcestershire), Charm Park (Yorkshire), Edgcote (Oxfordshire), Garthorpe (Leicestershire) and Larkhill (Wiltshire).

Bryan Mayoh, the TBA’s National Hunt committee chairman, says: “The TBA NH Committee has long believed that Jump horses will benefit from earlier development in pre-training, schooling and racing. To this end, it has proposed to the BHA a series of races for three- and four-year-old National Hunt-breds.

“This point-to-point initiative is intended to run in parallel with that series, so as to encourage British owners and point-to-point trainers to develop young horses earlier and race them in four-year-old races. Doing so will provide the same basis for development of Jump horses in Britain that is available to those in Ireland. Both initiatives are vital in improving the future prospects of horses raised in this country.”

Warwickshire-based Charlie Poste, who with his wife Fran buys unbroken three-year-olds with the intention of racing them in point-to-points and then selling them as four-year-olds, says: “It’s a brilliant initiative by the TBA, and is another example of the forward-thinking within the sport at present. The results are speaking for themselves, with former young British pointers like Ahoy Senor and Energumene winning top races under Rules. I’m delighted there will be races in the Spring for four-year-olds, and dipping a toe in the water with five races is the right approach at this stage.”

Oxfordshire trainer Alan Hill, says: “We will have several four-year-olds for next season and will be happy to aim at the TBA races to support the sponsorship. Ten years ago I didn’t have a four-year-old in the yard, but our sport has changed and we must move forward. Hopefully in time the TBA’s five-race series could become ten or 12 races.”

Four-year-olds were readmitted to British point-to-pointing in 2006, but it has taken time to build up the number of such horses in order to create races exclusively for their age group. The TBA’s new series gives point-to-point owners and trainers an opportunity to race such young horses against their own age group at level weights, to assess their merit earlier and potentially compete in, or sell them on for, Jump racing under Rules.

The first British race exclusively for four-year-old point-to-pointers took place in November 2020, however, the runners were about to become five-year-olds on New Year’s Day. The TBA’s series is aimed at younger four-year-olds.

LAST YEARS CHAMPIONS CELEBRATE AT WEST MERCIAN AREA AWARDS

Covid has had a major impact on everything we did over the last 18 months but things are slowly returning to normal and the newly formed West Mercian Area started the ball rolling by staging their Awards Dinner and Dance at Hagley Golf Club on Saturday evening.

As expected, attendance was not back to pre-Covid levels but it was a step in the right direction with the evening proceedings guided by co-hosts Nick Bostock and Dave Mansell.

Joint Chairman Jim Squires welcomed the guests and he had a pleasant surprise when presented with the Area Achievement Award later in the evening. 

After picking up the trophy for the Leading Lady Rider, Hannah Lewis (who had announced her retirement last spring) made a poignant, passionate and eloquent speech regarding her weighing room colleague Lorna Brooke who sadly passed away after a fall at Taunton in April, asking everyone to raise their glass in her memory. An announcement regarding a series of races named The Lorna Brooke Memorial Qualifying Race will be published shortly.

It was also confirmed that almost £10,000 had been raised by the on-line auction and that helps swell the Areas coffers, as the sport gets back on its feet.

The Fisher German sponsored Riders Championships went to Lewis (Ladies) who has bowed out as Champion after a career spanning 20 years, while James King (Men’s) added the area title, enroute to winning the National Championship which will be presented at the Tattersalls National Awards at Cheltenham Racecourse on Thursday 21st October.

Octogenarian Jim Collett took a bulk of the prizes with Rose Iland taking the Award for the Leading Mare, Leading Novice Horse and Leading Horse which helped secure the Small Trainers title for Jake Slatter, with Laura Marsh winning the accolade of Leading Groom. Collett has been involved in the sport for over 40 years also announced his retirement last year but has recently brought a new horse from Ireland which he has named Jim’s Last Fling.

A table full of trophies (from the left)

Laura Marsh (Champion Groom), Jake Slatter (Champion Small Trainer), the evergreen Jim Collett (Owner of Leading Mare, Leading Horse and Leading Novice Horse – Rose Iland) and James King, who was winning the Area Championship for the 1st time and will shortly be crowned National Champion

Recipients also picked up prizes from other sponsors including Three Counties Equine Hospital, Dairy Partners, Tweenhill’s Stud and Briscoe’s Dairies, while in the old North West Area, Huw Edwards and Immy Robinson took the Men’s and Ladies Titles, while Trish Robinson won the Leading Horse Award with Garde Ville.

Judging by discussions with trainers and owners throughout the evening, racing in the West Mercian Area will be as competitive as ever and that bodes well when the new season commences in 5 weeks’ time.

Wins are always difficult to come by – so celebrate them whilst you can!

 

Clive Bennett recieves the John Houldey Cup from Diana Gaskins for the Leading Ledbury Qualified Horse

Peter and Trish Andrews being presented with a cheque for £1000 by Judith Healey (right) as a result of winning the Dairy Partners West Midland Open Race Championship

Sheppards win new friends at home and at Plumpton

Eastnor trainer Matt Sheppard opened his stable to the public today as part of National Racehorse Week, the seven day campaign to share with the public the behind the scenes elements of racing yards up and down the country. 

Several hundred folk had registered to see the picturesque yard just off the village green in Eastnor, adjacent to the estate office for Eastnor Castle. On such a day, one might reasonably have expected stable jockey Stan Sheppard to support his parents’ enterprise, but a jockey goes where he is booked, and the long journey to Plumpton’s opening fixture proved well worthwhile, when Glory And Fortune ran out a comfortable winner of the 2m Family & Friends Remembering Norman Sharpe Handicap Hurdle for near neighbour Tom Lacey. 

Worcestershire rider Stan Sheppard
Worcestershire rider Stan Sheppard

Fellow Worcestershire handler Sam Drinkwater was also successful when Strensham Court followed up his impressive Stratford Bumper win of early September with another accomplished performance. He looks an exciting horse to go hurdling with over the coming months. 

Two other trainers from within the West Mercian area also notched a winner at Plumpton. David Bridgwater isn’t best known as an advocate of summer jumping, but Pirate Sam, under contrasting racing tactics, showed notable improvement in form to win the novices handicap chase, breaking his chase duck in the process. 

The bellwether of summer jumping, Richard Newland, also took his season earnings a step nearer £200,000 when Galata Bridge followed up early promise from a Worcester run on the first of the month to win his maiden hurdle at the prohibitive odds of 2/7. No-one got rich there. 

This week is the first since May that Jumps racing will be staged every day, a sure sign that the winter code is gathering momentum. Open days here, there and everywhere bear testament to a fresh season, hopefully unencumbered by lockdowns and restrictions on attendance. The Point-to-Point season launches in Devon on October 30.

Stand by, we’re nearly under orders.

BERKELEY TO HOST JOCKEY CLUB MARES MAIDEN DECIDER AT WOODFORD

Owners and trainers of maiden point-to-point fillies and mares can now aim their horses at a revamped series and a valuable final, thanks to sponsorship by The Jockey Club.

A long-standing feature of Britain’s point-to-point season, The Jockey Club Mares’ Maiden Series will now conclude with a £700 decider at the Berkeley Hunt’s fixture at Woodford in Gloucestershire on Saturday, May 23. The venue is handily placed just a few minutes from the M5 motorway.

Philip Hall, The Jockey Club’s representative on the Point-to-Point Authority Board, says: “We are delighted to renew our long standing sponsorship of the mares’ series, which is part of the broader partnership Jockey Club Racecourses enjoys with the sport of point-to-pointing.

“There is no doubting the importance of the role pointing plays in the broader industry, and Jockey Club Racecourses is delighted to help support the sport. This year, with the help of the PPA, we have added a series finale to create a crescendo for the whole season. Additionally, the first three across the line in this final will be eligible for an additional bonus to optimise the competitiveness of the new finale.

“Along with co-sponsoring the Veterans’ series with the Retraining of Racehorses [ROR], we are delighted to further our support.”

Under the new-look format, any mare who finishes in the first four in one of The Jockey Club’s 16 qualifying races – held at venues around Britain – will be eligible for the final, as will fillies and mares who win any other maiden race.

In addition, The Jockey Club is again offering a double-prize money bonus linked to its 15 licensed racecourses which stage Flat and Jump racing, but it is extending the offer. In the past only the winner of the points-based series was eligible for the bonus on her first run at a Jockey Club racecourse.

Now the first three finishers in the final are eligible on their first, second or third run at any such racecourse.

The winning filly or mare will double any prize money she earns (including place money) at a Jockey Club racecourse on her first, second or third run, up to a maximum of £10,000. The second and third filly or mare in the final can double their prize money up to a maximum of £5,000 on their first, second or third runs.

Dean Summersby, who trains on the Devon/Cornwall border, won The Jockey Club Mares’ Maiden Series with Cloudy Music in the 2018/19 season. He says: “We expect to have 14 pointers in training this season, including two maiden mares. Ask The Lady, who was second over hurdles on her latest start, and who we then bought at Doncaster sales, would be the type who could be a possible runner in The Jockey Club final if we can get her qualified. We don’t have early qualifying races in this area, but the fact she could win any other maiden race and be eligible for the final is a good thing.”

Dean Summersby – ‘Winning any maiden race to qualify for the final is a good thing’

Warwickshire-based Tom Ellis, Britain’s champion trainer, says: “If we have a suitable horse this is definitely something we would support. We have a number of maiden mares in the yard, including Misstree Song, who is seven and has been placed over hurdles. If she qualified for the final and finished in the first three she could double her prize money if she went back over hurdles.

Tom Ellis – ‘It’s definitely something we would support’

“I’ve ridden winners at Woodford. It’s a flat, fair course and they do a good job of watering.”

To learn more about The Jockey Club, click here: www.thejockeyclub.co.uk

Article originally published by Carl Evans on pointtopoint.co.uk

 

Young surpasses previous best at Cartmel – a home from home

Cartmel’s August Bank Holiday weekend has much in common with the Point-to-Point scene. In fact, more so than a comparison with most professional racecourses, all of whom would give their eye teeth for the sort of attendances that clog the rural roads leading to the Cumbrian course these past few days. Clerk of the Course Anthea Leigh was reported to estimate Saturday’s crowd in excess of 13,000!

What better audience then to showcase your training talents in front of. So it’s great to be able to report a triumph from Droitwich’s Max Young, a graduate from the Pointing scene not a few years ago, whose third winner of this season – Decoration of War – won the concluding middle distance handicap hurdle in good style by 6l from fellow Point-to-Point graduate David Brace. 

Max’s first season in Rules racing last season brought 2 winners from 71 runners, a baptism of fire in a highly competitive marketplace, but he’s clearly learnt from the experience. He won his spurs with a debut winner on December 30 at Market Rasen. This third winner from just 35 runners since May has already exceeded his totals by every measurement for his debut season, and we’ve barely started. 

The nature of training as a career is a high risk exercise, with big money owners often chasing tiny prizes at rural courses en route to bigger things. Identifying where your horses can be cleverly placed to best effect is one of the hidden but most valuable of all training talents. After all, getting your horse fit to run is the easy part!

Hats off to another graduate of the West Midlands apprentice school of racing. Long may it continue. 

Cartmel, quintessential Point-to-Point atmosphere
Cartmel, quintessential Point-to-Point atmosphere

As for Cartmel, its season is now over till the Spring, but make a note to attend if you haven’t already done so. It’s a bucket-list item for every discerning racegoer.