Pointing West Mercian

Tuesday, 30th Nov 2021


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

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