POINT TO POINT JOCKEYS CHAMPIONSHIP
IS IT A UNIQUE EVENT AND IS IT GOOD FOR THE SPORT?
A few years ago, the suggestion that a jockey could ride over 50 winners in
a season and not win the Championship would probably have been dismissed as
pure fantasy, but that is exactly what has happened during the 2004
With three meetings remaining
Ashley Farrant leads Richard Burton by two and both these jockeys have
ridden almost double the number of winners of the rider in third place -
which poses the question is that good for the sport or is it just a one off
This is David Pipe's last season in the sport so by implication it can be
argued that Ashley Farrant will find it more difficult to succeed again in
the future. It has been stated elsewhere that Richard Burton has reached his
current total, while two of his main supporting stables Sheila Crow and Pam
Sykes have not been at their strongest.
luck to both of them and may the best man win.
AT DAWN - THE BEST
HORSE IN THE WEST MIDLANDS?
Pete Mansell looks back over the 2004 season
2004 season finishes with the Governments position on Hunting Legislation
still unclear, but what is evident from the past six months is that OUR
sport continues to go from strength to strength.
Racing in West Midlands has enjoyed a high profile over the years with
Alison Dare winning six Ladies Championships while Ledbury's Julian
Pritchard picked up three Mens Titles. He is currently in second place in
the list of the sports all time winning riders – a total he must surely
surpass next year while Berkeley's Polly Gundry has just won the Ladies
Championship for a record breaking fifth time in succession.
Despite these feats, the exploits of the riders has been overshadowed
somewhat by their equine counterparts in 2004. Listed below at the names of
ten horses, who in the opinion of this correspondent, have helped raised the
profile of the sport in the West Midland Area.
PLACE - THE CAMPDONIAN
Owned by John Robbins. Trained by Lucy King at Weston Sub Edge
This ex-chaser was fortunate to win his first race of the season at
Chaddesley when he was left clear by the departure of William Lionheart at
the penultimate. He was never out of the frame in eight races afterwards
although he did unseated his rider in a Stratford Hunter Chase. Most of his
placed efforts were within the area and this was sufficient for him to land
the West Midland Area Leading Horse Award for his sporting connections.
PLACE - WILLIAM LIONHEART
Owned by Nick Cook. Trained by Dick Baimbridge at Berkeley
Appeared to stumble
after the penultimate when well clear of The Campdonian at Chaddesley and
may have been suffering the effects of that fall, although it was no
disgrace to finish runner up to Christy Beamish at the Ledbury. Went from
strength to strength thereafter and landed two wins at Paxford and Woodford.
Seems to go on any ground and maintains a good gallop throughout.
PLACE - TEME WILLOW
Owned by Stan Warner. Trained by Dick Baimbridge at Berkeley
Despite his advancing years, he continued to show top form and although
surprisingly beaten in a three horse race at Maisemore bounced back to top
form against some useful rivals at Bredwardine. Even the wizard of Berkeley
has been unable to correct his tendency to jump right but still a force to
be reckoned with.
PLACE - WELL TED
Owned by Graham Fisher and Maurice Seabourne. Trained by Dick Baimbridge at
Won twice and placed twice from four outings. Would possibly have won on his
seasonal debut at Brampton Bryan but rooted the third from home, which ended
his chances and also finished third at Woodford where Gary Hanmer took the
ride. Scored two wins at Paxford and Dingley and another tribute to the
training skills of Baimbridge.
PLACE - FATHER TOM
by Herbie Sharpe and Roger Liddington. Trained by Dick Baimbridge at
Looked overated after early season falls at Whitwick and Maisemore.
Transformed by a change of tactics that are brilliantly executed by Julian
Pritchard and this combination won four races in succession including the
Welsh Border Area Confined Championship. Placed to perfection by his trainer
further successes should come their way in 2005.
PLACE - SUPREME CITIZEN
Owned and trained by Diana Williams at Enville
The Williams stable has really come to the public's attention over the last
two or three years and they enjoyed another successful season. Supreme
Citizen carried on from where he left off last year winning three races and
striking up a good partnership with Jane Williams. Blotted his copybook when
unseating his rider at Brampton Bryan, but sure to regain the winning thread
again next year.
PLACE - CHRISTY BEAMISH
Owned by Michael Mann. Trained by Paul Jones at Patshull
Had two outings in 2003 and another two the following season and has a 75%
strike rate winning three of his four outings. Has always been highly
thought off and created a favourable impression and gave a faultless display
when beating the aforementioned William Lionheart at Maisemore. It may not
be wise to read too much into his subsequent absence and should continue his
upward progression during 2005.
PLACE - UPTON ADVENTURE
Owned by Peter Corbett. Trained by Nicky Sheppard at Eastnor
The winner of eight of her ten races in 2004, which earned Corbett's home
bred mare the T.B.A. Mares Trophy. With two weeks of the season remaining
she is still in the lead for the Horse and Hound Trophy for the horse
winning the most races during the 2004 campaign. Her performances cannot be
faulted but they also have to be put in context and her time at the
Worcestershire was 2 second slower than Caught at Dawn who was carrying
significantly more weight.
PLACE - BALINOVA
Owned and trained by Clive Bennett at Dymock
Finished second to the highly rated Ask the Natives in a Ladies race at
Buckfastleigh before scoring facile wins against modest rivals at Maisemore
and Paxford. Ran a gallant race in defeat before going down by three
quarters of a length when trying to concede 7lbs to Caught at Dawn in a
Cheltenham Hunter Chase, which on the form book makes his superior to the
winner. Looks destined for top honours next year.
PLACE - CAUGHT AT DAWN
Owned and trained by Martin Weston at Hindlip
Nobody could or did predict the significent improvement in Caught at Dawns
performances during 2004. Pulled up on his seasonal debut at Weston Park, he
then ran up a sequence of six straight wins, which culminated in victory in
the prestigious Lady Dudley Cup and this was closely followed by a Hunter
Chase success at Prestbury Park against Balinova. Injury prevented him
contesting the John Corbett Cup at Stratford but there is every reason to
believe that he would have gone close in that contest.
IT WAS A GOOD SEASON FOR…
scored her first training success when Machalini won at Didmarton and she
added two more victories to her tally after Babs Wheal won at Upton on
Severn and Machalini doubled up at Cothelstone.
Started the season with a number of
newcomers in his Castlemorton yard but the stable did better than predicted
and enjoyed several successes and numerous placed efforts and must have been
pleased when their home bred Wind on the Common won two races.
Despite a slow start to the campaign the
Chaddesley Corbett trainer finished the season with a flourish which
included an end of season hatrick for Sovereign Gale including the Mares
Championship at Garthorpe.
This stable's motto should be "if at
first you don't succeed, try, try and try again" and that exactly what
they did with Jolly Jake. He started off 2004 by continuing his run of
placed efforts but finally got his head in front at Upper Sapey. Given his
past record he will struggle to make his mark at the next grade.
BELINDA SPAREY - BEST OF TASTE CATERING
conjunction with the West Midlands P.P.S.A. instigated a Novice Riders Award
at each area meeting. Some of the recipients of these awards obviously have
more ability than others and are already destined for higher honours, but it
has been evident at each award that these prizes are warmly appreciated.
WAS A BAD SEASON FOR…
who for the first time in his 18-year race riding career suffered a couple
of bone crunching falls in mid season which left him sidelined for the
several weeks. He may not have the firepower to match Farrant and Burton in
the Championship race but with luck will surely become the sports Leading
Point to Point ride during 2005 next year.
who had to wait until the final weeks of the season to taste success when
Mounthenry Star won at Larkhill. The Naunton trainer can normally expect to
send out about 10 winners a season but the dice have not fallen kindly this
year, but expect better things during 2005.
AREA AWARDS WILL BE PRESENTED AT THE WEST MIDLAND AREA DINNER DANCE AT
CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE ON FRIDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER.
ARE AVAILABLE FROM:
- 01886 880355
- 01531 634461
- 01454 261764
Don't forget the new
season starts in the first week of January 2005. It's
months away but a stable preview from the West Midlands Area should be
available sometime during December 2004.