The blog is back with an AGA double header at High Easter and Hackwood Park

Why the lack of blog posts? Well, I’ve missed a few weeks due to being incredibly busy, and there have also been a few ‘technical issues’. I fully intended to catch up and write a blog post for every point-to-point meeting that I’ve been to since my last post – Didmarton, Garthorpe, Charlton Horethorne, Wadebridge, Howick, High Easter and Hackwood Park. But I’ve had to give up on that idea as it’s the weekend again and I’m off pointing!

"He's over there taking photos, far too busy to write a blog post"
“He’s over there taking photos, far too busy to write a blog post”

So, to get back on track I’m starting with a double header from two very good meetings last weekend – High Easter (Horseheath Hunts Club) and Hackwood Park (Hampshire Hunt).

It's always nice to see the hounds at a point-to-point meeting
It’s always nice to see the hounds at a point-to-point meeting

The Horseheath Hunts Club meeting at High Easter came about because of the abandonment of all fixtures that were due to take place at Horseheath this season. Thankfully they arranged it for a day without an AGA qualifier, and I was able to add another course to my ever growing list.

The best vantage point on the course ...
The best vantage point on the course …

The photos suggest it was a lovely sunny day – and it was – but there was a heavy shower before racing commenced, and it just happened to be as I was putting the AGA signs up!

Can you spot the hastily erected AGA signs?
Can you spot the hastily erected AGA sign?

Mrs S had a day at home so I was ‘flying solo’ today, but there were plenty of familiar faces and the welcome was warm, plus the solo journey meant I was able to choose all of the music (about 5 hours worth!).

Moroman and David Kemp
Moroman and David Kemp
Two of the afore-mentioned 'familiar faces', Bridget Andrews and her mum Joanna
Two of the afore-mentioned ‘familiar faces’, Bridget Andrews and her mum Joanna
Jack Andrews was leading up, but his debut in the saddle is looming (and he can't wait)
Another member of the Andrews family, Jack, was leading up, but his debut in the saddle is looming (and he can’t wait)

With 9 entered for the 13th AGA Ladies Open race of the season I wasn’t surprised to see only 3 declared, but the 3 were all good ‘uns so we had a decent race on our hands.

Down at the start before the AGA Ladies Open
Down at the start before the AGA Ladies Open

My question down at the start was ‘who’s going to make the running’, Cynthia Haydon answered quick as a flash, with a smile and and a very firm ‘me’.

The official starter, John Sharp
The official starter, John Sharp
And they're off!
And they’re off!
Pollen Jock (Gina Andrews) was pulled up, leaving two finishers, See You Jack (Bridget Andrews) and the winner Little Legend Legend (Cynthia Haydon)
Pollen Jock (Gina Andrews) was pulled up, leaving two finishers, See You Jack (Bridget Andrews, yellow cap) and the winner Little Legend Legend (Cynthia Haydon)

Little Legend was made to work for his 11th point-to-point win by See You Jack, although he did it well and winning rider Cynthia Haydon was delighted, immediately nominating the AGA final at Stratford Racecourse as a target for her star performer.

AGA winner!
AGA winner!
A smart new rug for Little Legend ...
A smart new rug for Little Legend …
... and a smart new jacket for Cynthia!
… and a smart new jacket for Cynthia!

I was grateful to Lawney Hill for agreeing to do the post race presentation and she soon had us all smiling, especially when she swapped hats with Cynthia’s dad, Michael.

Lawney Hill does the honours at the post race presentation
Lawney Hill does the honours at the post race presentation
A cheeky interview with Matt Coleman
A cheeky interview with Matt Coleman
Blue sky and busy bookies, always a good sign
Blue sky and glum looking bookies …
Another good vantage point!
Another good vantage point!

It was quite fitting that Cynthia and Little Legend were the cover stars of the Pointing Plus pull-out (which was once again superb), and I only wish I had remembered to get this photo before they put the horse back on the lorry!

The Pointing Plus cover stars had certainly lived up to their star billing!
The Pointing Plus cover stars had certainly lived up to their star billing!

I just managed to make it home before dark, surprising Mrs S in the process, and after a quick bite to eat it was time to load the car for Sunday and Hackwood Park!

The AGA trailer makes it's point-to-point debut
The AGA trailer makes it’s point-to-point debut

This was a landmark point-to-point meeting for us as the rather smart (and rather big) AGA show trailer was making it’s point-to-point debut. Normally seen at County Shows, this was the first time we had ventured onto a pointing field with it, and I’m very pleased to say that it was a huge success!

The live AGA and very smart AGA fridge were very popular with racegoers
The live AGA and very smart AGA fridge were very popular with racegoers
Becca Corbett has been promoting the 'AGA Hats Around The World' competition and she joined in the fun today with her friend, Sarah Kelk
Becca Corbett has been promoting the ‘AGA Hats Around The World’ competition and she joined in the fun today with her friend, Sarah Kelk
The sun was out ...
The sun was out …
... and then it was gone!
… and then it was gone!

Spring at Hackwood Park – the weather was interesting, but the ‘shower’ soon passed and we were to have a very pleasant afternoon, although the AGA stand was creaking under the weight of people sheltering from the rain at one point!

Is this the most people ever on an AGA stand?
Is this the most people ever on an AGA stand? Can you spot Lawney Hill?

Lawney Hill was in an AGA photo for the second day running, this time sporting a rather natty new bobble hat (with possibly the largest bobble ever seen on a bobble hat!). Next time you bump into Alan Hill ask him about the hat …

Here come the girls!
Here come the girls!

We’ve had some great AGA Ladies Open races this season and we had a tasty looking race in prospect today with 6 declared.

Saturdays AGA winner was also in action today
Saturdays AGA winner was also in action today
Ally Stirling won our first AGA race this season, at Cottenham in December
Ally Stirling won our first AGA race this season, at Cottenham in December

I really fancied Shoreacres in this one … so I backed Up To The Mark (I’m not very good at betting!).

All 6 are tightly grouped on their first circuit
All 6 are tightly grouped on their first circuit
Shoreacres has cleared the 12th fence, just ahead of Moscow Blaze
Shoreacres clears the 12th fence, just ahead of Moscow Blaze & Terra Bleu
Moscow Blaze (nearside) and Shoreacres are stride for stride up the run-in
Moscow Blaze (nearside) and Shoreacres are stride for stride up the run-in
Moscow Blaze (nearside) and eventual winner, Shoreacres drive for the line
Moscow Blaze (nearside) and eventual winner, Shoreacres drive for the line

Wow! What a cracker, with Shoreacres and Hannah Lewis just getting up to beat Moscow Blaze and Page Fuller. The pair had a great battle all the way up the run-in and it certainly got the crowd going. There are a lot of talented lady riders around at the moment (loads in fact), and these two played a big part in our series last season, Hannah finished runner-up in the AGA championship for lady riders, and Page won the AGA series final on That’s Rhythm.

Delight in the winners enclosure for Hannah Lewis, husband Adrian Wintle and connections of Shoreacres
Delight in the winners enclosure for Hannah Lewis, husband Adrian Wintle and connections of Shoreacres

The 3rd placed horse was Well Mett, who was making his long awaited point-to-point debut, and it was mission accomplished for Jelly O’Brien as the 7 year old is now qualified for the AGA final in May.

My AGA colleague, Richard Lawrence was on hand to present the mementoes after the race
My AGA colleague, Richard Lawrence was on hand to present the mementoes after the race
Delighted connections are presented with mementoes by Richard Lawrence from AGA
Delighted connections are presented with mementoes by Richard Lawrence from AGA

Hannah was chuffed to bits, not just with the win and the the 10 AGA championship points, but also because she had finally got her hands on an AGA jacket.

The new jacket and the AGA hat, a winning combination!
The new jacket and the AGA hat, a winning combination!

The Bonhams Mens Open folowed our race and Big Al was in winning form as his horse, Dante’s Storm recorded a tidy win under Philip York (his first of the season).

Big Al in action with the bucket
Big Al in action with the bucket
The nice man from Bonhams does the honours after the race
The nice man from Bonhams does the honours after the race
Jelly O'Brien and Angela Slatter drop by for a cup of tea
Jelly O’Brien and Angela Slatter drop by for a cup of tea

Meanwhile back at the AGA stand Mrs S’s homemade cake was going down well, and the AGA fridge was also getting lots of attention.

The hounds have a browse through Pointing Plus with Mrs S
The hounds have a browse through Pointing Plus with Mrs S

It was a successful weekend and a very successful pointing debut for the AGA show trailer, which fitted in really well at Hackwood Park, and we’ll definitely be seeing it in action again before the end of the season! Well done to the team at High Easter on Saturday and the team at Hackwood Park on Sunday, two great days, 10 out of 10!

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