Catherine Walton makes it 4 AGA Ladies wins from 4 rides with another successful trip to Yorkshire!

The AGA slogan is a ‘Warm Welcome Home’, and that’s exactly what we got on our return to Yorkshire!

We get a warm welcome from the point-to-point community wherever we go, but it’s particularly warm whenever we go to Yorkshire … we can even feel it when we’re just passing through!

Some last minute adjustments as the girls head out for the first race ... but there's one missing!
Some last minute adjustments as the girls head out for the first race … but there’s one missing!
Here she is, it's national champion, Jacqueline Coward
Here she is, it’s national champion, Jacqueline Coward
Laura Clark - is this the biggest AGA supporter in Yorkshire? I think she qualifies for that award!
Laura Clark – is this the biggest AGA supporter in Yorkshire? I think she qualifies for that award!

A close up of National Champion Jacqueline Coward (Lewesdon Tom) and Harriet Bethell (Nalim) on the first circuit in the Confined race
A close up of National Champion Jacqueline Coward (Lewesdon Tom) and Harriet Bethell (Nalim) on the first circuit in the Confined race

We were last in Yorkshire on January 12th at Sheriff Hutton – over 2 months ago – so it was good to catch up with our friendly following from the largest county in England. My mam and dad had also ventured down from Durham for a day at the races, the first time I have seen my mam on Mother’s Day for a number of years!

Sam Coward had received a special request from her mam (Cherry Coward), who is recovering at home following a nasty fall while out Hunting
Sam Coward is facetiming someone and giving a running commentary … but who is it?

Sam Coward (aka ‘the lynchpin’) had received a special request from her mam (Cherry Coward), who is recovering at home following a nasty fall while out hunting. Cherry wanted a race commentary, nothing unusual about that you may think, but that’s the first time I have seen anyone giving a running commentary of a point-to-point race using facetime!

Race winner Harriet Bethell and Nalim have formed quite a prolific partnership
Race winners Harriet Bethell and Nalim have formed quite a prolific partnership
Joanna Mason and Royal Deal were sent off joint favourites & the pair finished like a steam train, closing fast on the eased down winner which caused a few gasps and shouts from the crowd
Joanna Mason and Royal Deal were sent off joint favourites & the pair finished like a steam train, closing fast on the eased down winner, which caused a few gasps and shouts from the crowd!
Jo Mason's dog Pixie was in the capable hands of her sister, Laura
Jo Mason’s dog Pixie was in the capable hands of her sister, Laura

This was our first visit to Whitcliffe Grange and it was ‘hassle free’, very easy to find, a great welcome on arrival, and helpful, friendly people wherever we looked!

This group had a great vantage point for the Restricted race
This group had a great vantage point for the Restricted race
Indalo Return leads on the first circuit in the Restricted
Indalo Return (orange and light blue) leads on the first circuit in the Restricted
'Treading in' - a familiar figure to followers of point-to-point racing in Yorkshire
Arthur Thompson is ‘treading in’ – he’s a familiar figure to followers of point-to-point racing in Yorkshire

If you come pointing in Yorkshire then you are sure to see Jacqueline Coward in action, and more often than not she will boot home a winner or two. She didn’t let her fans down and the Restricted was won in decisive fashion on Botany Cove, at a juicy 7/1.

Botany Cove strolls home in the Restricted
Botany Cove strolls home in the Restricted
National Champion Jacqueline Coward celebrates with Bella Sowray
National Champion Jacqueline Coward celebrates with Bella Sowray

We had an odds on favourite for the AGA Ladies Open race – Elusive Swallow, 4/7 – but it looked a competitive affair and the other five runners were all decent, including a couple of unknown quantities, Crash and Maxwil.

Jessica Gillam leads the girls into the paddock for the AGA Ladies Open race
Jessica Gillam and Joanne Brown lead the girls into the paddock for the AGA Ladies Open race
These two like a good pre-race natter in the paddock
These two like a good pre-race natter in the paddock
Clarky, Norman and Jo!
Clarky, Norman and Jo!
The dashing grey Sotovik leads eventual winner Maxwil with a circuit to go
The dashing grey Sotovik and eventual winner Maxwil with a circuit to go

With around half a circuit to go Jo Mason took Nosecond Chance into a commanding lead and she looked to have nicked it (with a ‘peach of a ride’), and I was already writing the headline for this blog post. Then it all changed as Elusive Swallow (held up for most of the way) made up the ground, with Jacqueline kicking on as they approached the last, only to be joined by Maxwil.

There's nothing between Maxwil and Elusive Swallow as they approach the last
There’s nothing between Maxwil and Elusive Swallow as they approach the last
Maxwil is up and over (or through) first
Maxwil is up and over (or through) first
Maxwil lands full of running
Maxwil lands full of running

Catherine Walton and Maxwil stretched away up the run-in to win well and give Catherine her 4th AGA Ladies victory of the season, from only 4 rides!

Maxwil stretches away
Maxwil stretches away

Jo and Nosecond Chance ran on well to finish 3rd, and all three deserve a lot of credit for the part they played in giving us yet another thrilling AGA Ladies Open race.

Jo and Nosecond Chance
Jo and Nosecond Chance
A great big hug for Catherine Walton
A great big hug for Catherine Walton
Me and Micky! A bit of a colour clash with my pink and his orange!
Me and Micky! A bit of a colour clash with my pink and his orange!

Winning owner Micky Hammond was all smiles and was full of praise for the girls in his yard who had done a great job nursing Maxwil back to full fitness.

AGA man, Micky Hammond, Catherine Walton, Kierra Hammond and her friend Amelie
AGA man, Micky Hammond, Catherine Walton, Kierra Hammond and her friend Amelie

It’s fabulous to have a northern (north-east) title contender and Catherine now has 40 points in the AGA championship for lady riders, with a 14 point lead over her nearest rival. She can get to 50 points (50 is the limit as only the best 5 results count), but there are 264 points still to be won so there is plenty of time for some of the other girls to launch their own title challenge.

The AGA championship is shaping up nicely
The AGA championship is shaping up nicely but the message from Catherine is ‘catch me if you can’!

Another successful day in Yorkshire was almost over, although there was still time to chat to a few more people, and to take a few more photos, including the one below!

Pip Tutty and Janet Drake try out the AGA Iconic chairs
Pip Tutty and Janet Drake try out the AGA Iconic chairs

We’re back in ‘God’s own county’ on the 12th April (Bedale), although when I first heard Yorkshire referred to by this name I naturally thought everyone was talking about my home county of Durham! See you all at Hornby Castle!

 

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