AGA man up with the pace on second run of the season, but choice of apparel causes a stir

Good times at Barbury Castle as we enjoy another day of point-to-point racing in the sunshine, there is also lots of fashion advice for the AGA man and Gina Andrews promises to (finally) read the blog!

For the second weekend running I was setting off to go to a point-to-point meeting in glorious sunshine, and for the second weekend running I was travelling solo as Mrs S was still not ready for her first run of the season! However, my tweet that it was ‘almost tropical’ was a little ambitious, as was my suggestion that the AGA jacket would not be needed!

Mike Smith has just spotted the AGA man!
Mike Smith has just spotted the AGA man and he can’t believe I’m not wearing a jacket … or is it the pink trousers?

I had a steady drive down the Fosse Way to Barbury, stopping only to buy a Turkish Delight (but more of that later), and I found a decent parking spot not far from the paddock before exiting the car jacket-less. If you have been to Barbury Castle then you will not be surprised to learn that the jacket was soon retrieved from the back of the car. I managed to last about 5 minutes, and it was nowhere near as cold as it usually is!

Connolly's Red Mills main man Dai Jones strides into the paddock before the Connolly's Red Mills Intermediate
Connolly’s RED MILLS main man Dai Jones strides into the paddock before the Connolly’s RED MILLS Intermediate race

Abs Banks and Hall Kelly return to the winners enclosure
Abs Banks and Hall Kelly return to the winners enclosure after winning the Connolly’s RED MILLS Intermediate race

I’m sharing the love with fellow sponsors on my blog this week so you will see a few photos of Dai Jones, Connolly’s RED MILLS main man, who was sporting a rather tidy new beard, although I can’t remember what he called it!

Dai Jones chats to Phine Banks, her sister, Abs Banks, has just won the Connolly's RED MILLS Intermediate on Hall Kelly
Dai Jones chats to Phine Banks, her sister, Abs Banks, has just won the Connolly’s RED MILLS Intermediate on Hall Kelly
Dai Jones moves in with the winners rug for Hall Kelly
Dai Jones moves in with the winners rug for Hall Kelly
Abs is rather chuffed with that win! And she's looking at the wrong photographer (me)!
Abs is rather chuffed with that win!
Tony Ellis was enjoying the winter sunshine and it looks like he is having 40 winks in this photo!
Tony Ellis was enjoying the winter sunshine and it looks like he is having forty winks in this photo!
Top National Hunt trainer Alan King casts his eye over the runners before the Jockey Club Open Mares Maiden
Top National Hunt trainer Alan King casts his eye over the runners before the Jockey Club Open Mares Maiden
Pampelonne and Sam Davies-Thomas win the Jockey Club Open Mares Maiden  race
Pampelonne and Sam Davies-Thomas win the Jockey Club Open Mares Maiden race – pic by Jackie Oliver, Graftonwood

Jackie Oliver’s favourite jockey was in action in the next and he romped home on Pampelonne for Sylvia Edmunds & John Busby, again sporting his rather smart new EQmach breeches. Although I suspect that he was less than thrilled at the colour clash when he had his photo taken with me!

Sam is not letting go of that beer!
Sam is not letting go of his case of Fuller’s London Pride! pic by Jackie Oliver, Graftonwood
Runners and riders for the Ladies Open
Runners and riders for the Ladies Open
PPA Board Member, Heather Kemp is doing a spot of dog sitting for Laura Horsfall (bobble hat)
PPA Board Member, Heather Kemp is doing a spot of dog sitting for Laura Horsfall (bobble hat)

The ladies open was not an AGA qualifier this season but I was glued to it as points were up for grabs in our new owners championship – the AGA Dual Control National Open Horse Championship.

Mister Chancer and Siobhan Doolan
Mister Chancer and Siobhan Doolan
Emily Rucker is ready to be legged up on Stonemaster while mum Angela Rucker and dad William Rucker look on
Emily Rucker is ready to be legged up on Stonemaster while mum Angela Rucker and dad William Rucker look on

I couldn’t be tempted to have a bet today but Cottage Oak looked an interesting runner for Joe O’Shea, with his two previous runs being in the CGA Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham and the John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase at Aintree.

Veterinary surgeon Natasha Seely casts her eye over the runners in the paddock
Veterinary surgeon Natasha Seely casts her eye over the runners in the paddock
Latest Trend and Bridget Andrews, 20/1 winners of the ladies open
Latest Trend and Bridget Andrews, 20/1 winners of the ladies open – pic by Jackie Oliver, Graftonwood
Pointing legend Pat Tollit joined the presentation party
Pointing legend Pat Tollit joined the presentation party
A very familiar figure (centre, glasses) is studying the betting from a distance, it's Point-to-Point Authority Chairman, Simon Claisse
A very familiar figure (centre, glasses) is studying the betting from a distance, it’s Point-to-Point Authority Chairman, Simon Claisse
Barbury Castle Estate owner Nigel Bunter (centre, blue jacket)
Barbury Castle Estate owner Nigel Bunter (centre, blue jacket)

Sometimes you leave the house and think ‘I look good today’, but today wasn’t one of those days, with Mrs S commenting that I looked like a Christmas candy cane (that was the only comment that can be repeated).

L-R Nigel Padfield, Jack Andrews, Tony Ellis, David Simpson pic by Jackie Oliver
L-R Nigel Padfield, Jack Andrews, Tony Ellis, David Simpson pic by Jackie Oliver, Graftonwood

I really like my pink trousers, but I now realise that they don’t go with a lime green jumper and a pale yellow tie, and several people pointed that out! Mrs S, the first person to point it out, is joining me for the trip to Alnwick this weekend for the first Northern Area point-to-point of the season. I wonder, shall I risk the pink trousers again?

Shy John and Pete Mason come home well clear of the field to win the mens open - pic by Jackie Oliver, Graftonwood
Shy John and Pete Mason come home well clear of the field to win the mens open – pic by Jackie Oliver, Graftonwood

Shy John’s win in the mens open earned the ‘Shy John Partnership’ 10 points, but the 2nd place for Stonemaster in the ladies open was enough to put Mr & Mrs Rucker into an early lead in our owners championship, with 16 points on the board.

Heather Kemp insisted that I put my hood up, as ever, Jackie Oliver was in the right place at the right time!
Heather Kemp insisted that I put my hood up, as ever, Jackie Oliver was in the right place at the right time to capture the moment!
Jack Barber (centre) has just spotted the AGA man, while girlfriend Jade Walters plays it cool, the dog isn't bothered!
Jack Barber (centre) has just spotted the AGA man, while girlfriend Jade Walters plays it cool, the dog isn’t bothered!
Sara Moule (furry headband) looks as if she is demonstrating a new dance move for Jeanette Dawson
Sara Moule (furry headband) looks as if she is demonstrating a new dance move for Jeanette Dawson
The crowd watch the first circuit in the Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members (Nov Rdrs) race
The crowd watch the first circuit in the Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members (Nov Rdrs) race
Kornati Kid and Charlie Marshall
Kornati Kid and Charlie Marshall – another great pic from Jackie Oliver, Graftonwood

The Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members race was eventful (above), and so was the trip back up the hill (below).

An essential pointing accessory - the furry headband!
An essential pointing accessory – the furry headband!
Money exchanged hands and new furry headbands will be making a regular appearance throughout the season
Money exchanged hands and the new furry headbands will be making a regular appearance throughout the season

Claire Hart and Jackie Woodville were soon sporting new furry headbands, but Sara Moule and Alison Dare couldn’t be tempted today.

The money piles on Illicit Illusion ahead of the PPORA Club Members Maiden 4&5yo race
The money piles on Illicit Illusion ahead of the PPORA Club Members Maiden 4&5yo race
Connections of Illicit Illusion, including winning rider Tom Weston
Connections of Illicit Illusion, including winning rider Tom Weston

I was advised by a friend that Illicit Illusion was nailed on to win the PPORA Club Members Maiden 4&5yo race. That was nice, the only snag was that the advice came on Monday morning, the day after the race!

Alan King and Tom Lacey with announcer Mark Barlow following the PPORA Club Members Maiden 4&5yo race
Alan King and Tom Lacey with announcer Mark Barlow following the PPORA Club Members Maiden 4&5yo race
Alison Dare bags herself a copy of the new Big Green Annual
Alison Dare bags herself a copy of the new Big Green Annual
One of these four has just said something incredibly funny! L-R Sam Davies-Thomas, Georgie Armstrong, Tom Ellis & Mary Mason
One of these four has just said something incredibly funny! L-R Sam Davies-Thomas, Georgie Armstrong, Tom Ellis & Mary Mason … or are they laughing at the pink trousers?
The Honourable Chairman, Robert Killen (glasses, centre) can relax at last - what a wonderful backdrop
The end of the day and Honourable Chairman, Robert Killen (glasses, centre) can relax at last – what a wonderful backdrop
Camilla Henderson and Willa the adorable pug heading for home
Camilla Henderson and Willa the adorable pug heading for home

The much anticipated pointing debut of the classy Khyber Kim had to be put on hold until another day, but hopefully we’ll see Camilla Henderson legged up on him before the end of December. It will be great to see the pair in action in any race, but if it’s an AGA ladies open we’ll be delighted!

Tony Ellis reflects on an enjoyable day
Tony Ellis reflects on an enjoyable day

I was considering hitting the road when Tony Ellis appeared at my elbow with one of his legendary gin and tonics in hand. The boot was up on the car and friends and family were gathered around as home made (AGA) cake and drinks were being dispensed, along with a few good natured insults about my choice of apparel.

Still time for one more drink and a piece of cake before the journey home
Simon Andrews gets ready to drive daughter Gina home, but there is still time for one more drink and a piece of cake before the journey

Tony invited me to join the group for a drink, plus he reasoned that they could also pass on some fashion tips at the same time! As much as I would have liked a G&T, it was nothing stronger than coffee for the AGA man (and the other drivers). I never refuse baked goods, so the coffee was accompanied by a rather nice piece of cake, baked by Pippa Ellis in her beautiful red AGA.

Olivia thought the pint would be cropped out of this photo!
Olivia thought her pint would be cropped out of this photo!

We were joined by Tom Weston – fresh from his win on Illicit Illusion – and Olivia Cox, a familiar face as she had appeared in a photograph that I took at my first ever point-to-point meeting in February 2011 (SMAC at Whitfield). It was lovely to meet Olivia at last, and she was once again in front of the AGA man’s camera, although I think she thought her pint of lager was discreetly out of shot!

Olivia with Arnie the pug!
Olivia with Arnie the pug!

The discussion soon returned to my colour coordination and Jackie Hunt pointed out that there was nothing wrong with the pink trousers, lime green jumper or indeed the yellow tie … just don’t wear them together she said. Good advice, although I don’t think I will be allowed to leave the house looking like that again (at least I think that’s what Mrs S said).

L-R Tom Ellis, my fashion advisor Jackie Hunt, Graham Tawell & Robert Pratt
L-R Tom Ellis, my fashion advisor Jackie Hunt, Graham Tawell & Robert Pratt

Sunset was approaching so it was time to wish everyone well until the next encounter (post Christmas), particularly the newly engaged Tom Ellis & Gina Andrews, who jetted off to New York on Tuesday. It took me almost a week to prise the good news about the engagement out of Gina, although Tom did point out that I should have just asked him! Anyway, I’m sure they are having a great time in the ‘Big Apple‘, but hopefully they will find time to read this blog, and if they do it will be the first time ever for Gina!

Tom Weston and Tony Ellis
Tom Weston and Tony Ellis

Travelling solo means that the music can be cranked up, and it also means that I can sing (badly), plus I don’t have to put the heater on full, and I can even have the window open if I want to! The Turkish Delight that I mentioned right at the start of this blog was consumed in two bites, and just in case anyone is interested in my choice of music for the journey I’ve included the track listing below. Alnwick next weekend, and if I don’t see you there, then I’m certain I will see a lot of you at Chaddesley Corbett (27th) and Cottenham (29th). can’t wait!

The AGA man’s Barbury Castle playlist

We Found Love (feat. Rihanna)Calvin HarrisVisageVisageToo Much Too YoungThe SpecialsThank You My LoveImaginationRight NowThe CreaturesPlease Don’t TouchHeadgirl (Motorhead & Girlschool)Penthouse and Pavement Heaven 17Music & LightsImaginationMan At C & AThe SpecialsLondon NightsLondon BoysLittle PacketM PeopleLe FreakChicKiss MeStephen “Tin Tin” DuffyIn A Big CountryBig CountryI Only Want To Be With YouThe TouristsI Am The ResurrectionThe Stone RosesMe Myself IJoan ArmatradingTown Called MaliceThe JamY.M.C.AThe Village PeopleYoung Hearts Run FreeCandi StatonFriday Night Saturday MorningThe Specials

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