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PENNOCK AT THE DOUBLE AT SOGGY NORTHAW
The closing fixture of the East Anglian Point-to-Point season took place at Northaw on Bank Holiday Monday on extremely testing ground in front of a good-sized crowd at this traditional May Day fixture. A great deal of credit must be given to Clerk Of The Course Douglas Pirie and his team for their work in facilitating the running of the fixture on a course that has had to withstand a lot of recent rain on the back of a very wet winter.
The stamina-sapping conditions meant that only 24 runners contested the six Point-to-Point races on the card. This did not deter the area’s leading trainer Andrew Pennock, from Timworth near Bury St Edmunds, who saddled another double in his quest to record his best ever season. His tally for the season now amounts to 18 winners, one short of his previous best total of 19, after The Admiral Benbow won the Intermediate and Mister Serious was victorious in the Restricted. Both horses were steered to success by Sam Davies-Thomas who has profited this week from the misfortune of regular stable jockey Dicky Collinson who unfortunately suffered concussion in a bad fall at Whitfield. In addition to these two winners at Northaw, Sam travelled to Sedgefield during the week to partner the Andrew Pennock-trained Play The Ace to a Hunter Case success.
Sam Davies-Thomas managed to round off the week in style by going on to record a Northaw treble on All For The Love in the Maiden. Victory aboard this James Owen-trained gelding continued Sam’s best-ever season of 22 Point-to-Point winners plus this week’s Hunter Chase victory.
Another jockey enjoying his best season is the national novice rider title leader Jack Andrews. He recorded victory number 11 of the season on Star Of Massini in the East Anglian Club Members Conditions Race for Abridge near Chigwell trainer Nigel Padfield, whose High Easter winner Excitable Island acquitted himself so well when finishing third at the prestigious Cheltenham Hunter Chase fixture this week.
Jack Andrews was not resting on his laurels, however, as he quickly jumped into his mother’s car to be driven to Mollington in Oxfordshire for a ride in the last race there aboard his regular mount Nightcap Jack. Unfortunately the combination were thwarted into second place.
Two South-East raiders won the remaining two races on the Northaw card, as Duke Of Kentford won the Novice Riders’ contest under Stuart Wright, while the Ladies Open went the way of Major Decision for jockey Tabitha Worsley and owner/trainer Julie Wickens.
In addition to the Point-to-Point action, Northaw also played host to the East Anglian pony race final for 128cm and under ponies. The contest was won by Silaz under 11year-old Will Featherstone.
NEW NATIONAL WEBSITE
Point-to-Pointing has got a new-look, revamped national website run by the Point-to-Point Racing Company this season. The address – www.pointtopoint.co.uk – remains the same, but the site has been completely rebuilt from the ground up to make the sport more accessible to both committed fans and once-a-year racegoers.
Interactive features ensure that finding fixtures and courses is easier for newcomers, while The Register, arguably the best new feature of the re-launched site, allows Premium and Premium VIP subscribers to search any horse, keeper or jockey and access their form, including Hunter Chase form, dating back to 2005; the only online database of its kind. For social media devotees, there is also the facility to post photos on the site via Instagram using the hashtag #gopointing.
The new pointtopoint.co.uk Event Page now takes on a racecard style design, providing Subscribers with not only the horse’s name, rating and owner/keeper details, but also the breeding, form (including Hunter Chases) and the jockey stated at entry. The new click-through facility enables you to dig much deeper into races, bringing up the keeper and jockey statistics as well as viewing the horse’s other entries with one simple click.
As before, there are three tiers – basic subscribers (free sign up) gain access to the news service, general information about the sport, features and weekly digital magazine Go Pointing; Premium Subscription (£40) enables viewers to gain exclusive early access to entries, results and form for trainers, riders and horses; Premium VIP (£80) opens all the features of Premium, but also enables viewers to watch race recordings from approximately half the season’s Point-to-Point fixtures, plus an archive of footage from previous years. New for this season is a monthly option of £15 for Premium, and £30 for Premium VIP.
The National Website can be found at: www.pointtopoint.co.uk
PONY RACING SPONSORSHIP
RACETECH REAFFIRMS ITS SUPORT FOR POINT-TO-POINT PONY RACING ALONG WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEW SPONSORS FOR THE 2016 SEASON
- RaceTech supports pony racing for a fourth year
- Treehouse Sporting Colours to sponsor the Novice Rider Race Series, 14 qualifying races culminating with two Championship Finals
- Dunraven Stud proud sponsors of the 2016 Point-to-Point Pony Racing Planner
Broadcast media services company RaceTech will again be supporting the grass roots of pony racing by sponsoring the Championship Rider Titles and Pony Racing Graduate awards during the 2016 point-to-point pony racing season. The season kicks off at the Cambridgeshire and Enfield Chase point-to-point at Horseheath in the East Anglian Area, on Sunday 7 February and runs through until the last fixture of the season on Saturday 12 June, the Torrington Farmers at Umberleigh in the Devon & Cornwall Area. All in all, there are seventy-nine point-to-point pony racing fixtures due to be staged. Points will be awarded for all wins and placings and winners will be presented with prizes and a training bursary at Cheltenham Racecourse in October.
In addition to the Championship titles and Graduate awards, new for 2016, RaceTech will also be sponsoring gallop sessions for young riders coming through the Pony Racing Authority’s youth training scheme during 2016.
Additional sponsorship has been confirmed in the form of Treehouse Sporting Colours which, for 2016, will be the title sponsor of the Novice Riders Race Series. Fourteen qualifying races will be held throughout the country where those finishing in the first four will qualify for the finals, to be staged by kind permission of the Meynell & South Staffordshire point-to-point at Garthorpe on 4 June.
The 2016 Point-to-Point Pony Racing Planner, in its fourth edition, has generously been sponsored by Bridgend-based Dunraven Stud. The Planner is a must-have publication for everyone wishing to take part in point-to-point pony races this season and is issued to all PRA members or available from Mrs Lucy Tucker.
Pony racing is designed to encourage children aged nine to sixteen into racing competitively, with races held across two height categories (138cms & under and 148cms & under). All point-to-point pony racing fixtures are kindly hosted by the organising committees of those Hunts / Clubs who stage point-to-point racing and run in conjunction with the sport’s governing body, the Pony Racing Authority (PRA). Since the sport became regulated in 2004, more than 150 riders have graduated onto horses both between the flags and under Rules, with many more also working within the horseracing industry.
Catherine Pullan of RaceTech said: "We’re delighted to continue our close association with pony racing for a fourth year, where young children from a variety of backgrounds have the chance to experience the thrill of riding in a race. It’s great to see teenagers coming through and making their mark in the professional ranks, and going into other areas in the racing industry too. We wish all those taking part this season the very best of luck.”
Lucy Tucker, a Director of the PRA and who oversees point-to-point pony racing, said: “The generous sponsorship provided by RaceTech, Treehouse Sporting Colours and the Brace family from Dunraven Stud means we are able to put on a superb programme of point-to-point pony racing. The PRA is widening its reach to new riders – with training programmes designed for children who have little or no experience of ponies, and are therefore creating more opportunities for them to be able to get involved and ultimately have a go.”