Yet another AGA thriller as Horsham Lad and Ravethebrave serve up a treat at Mollington!

A ‘home game’ today so to speak as the 16th AGA Ladies Open race of the season was taking place almost on the doorstep, and for the first time in ages I was able to leave the house after 11am to go pointing!

A course walk is a good way to start the day, this is the view back towards the car park
A course walk is a good way to start the day, and this is the view back towards the car park

All of the AGA banners had been put in place the previous afternoon – another advantage of Mollington being so close to home – so our course walk was more of a stroll today … although the last quarter mile was done in record time thanks to a cheeky little shower!

I was joined on the course walk by some of my colleagues from AGA
One of my colleagues from AGA, Silvena Toncheva, and her friend, Hristo Dochev, were both attending their first ever point-to-point and they joined me on the course walk, along with Neil Harrison – another AGA colleague – and his family
We watched another very tidy win for this classy mare (Theatre Queen), and then it was AGA Ladies time!
We watched another very tidy win for this classy mare (Theatre Queen), and then it was AGA Ladies time!

Once upon a time I used to fret about the number of runners that were declared for our races and I would be pestering the decs team every 10 minutes or so. There’s really no need for that as AGA Ladies Open races receive tremendous support, attracting quality horses, so most weeks I just wait for the runners to go up on the numbers board.

8 out of 11, not too bad at all!
8 out of 11, not too bad at all!

We left the paddock at the same time as the horses headed down to the start, legged it down the hill, and got to the first fence just in time to grab a few photos.

The calm before the storm
The calm before the storm
Two newcomers to AGA races
Two newcomers to AGA races

We took a few pics at the start while listening to the pre-race banter (interesting), and then had another little trot to the last fence – evidence below (thanks Jackie Oliver)!

Feeling the pace ...
Feeling the pace …

The 16th AGA Ladies Open of the season looked tasty, and I would say that four of the eight would have an outstanding chance in the AGA final, given the right conditions.

The tension mounts ...
The tension mounts …
... and they're off!
… and they’re off!

Winning rider Phine Banks (3rd in the AGA championship last year) came very close to chucking Horsham Lad back on the lorry to save him for another day, but I’m pleased she didn’t.

Horsham Lad (far side) lands just in front of Ravethebrave as they jump the last
Horsham Lad (far side) lands just in front of Ravethebrave as they jump the last

Horsham Lad and Ravethebrave jumped the last together, and these two prolific winning pointers fought out the finish, with Phine and Horsham Lad clinching their 4th AGA Ladies Open win.

Abs Banks w
Abs Banks would like a spin on this lad
Hannah Watson
Hannah Watson picked up a nice spare on Ravethebrave
Last time Phine stood here the AGA hat hadn't been invented!
Phine was stood on this spot almost 12 months ago after winning the AGA Ladies at the Heythrop, but the AGA hat hadn’t been invented then!
Phine loved the Iconic iPhone cover
Phine loved the Iconic iPhone cover, and she loved her AGA jacket!

There was a break after the AGA race and the crowd gathered in front of the big screen to watch the Grand National from Aintree. My last winning bet in the National was back in 2008 (Comply Or Die), and I haven’t come close since!

Harry Bannister had a good spot right in the front row ...
Harry Bannister had a good spot right in the front row …
... and so did Mrs S, in her Iconic director's chair!
… and so did Mrs S, in her Iconic director’s chair!

We had a handful of bets between us but the best I could manage was 17th so it’s now 6 years since I managed to pick the GN winner! That didn’t spoil a great day and for the first time this season I was finally able to sample one of Tony Ellis’s legendary gin n tonics!

Lawney Hill, we love you!
Lawney Hill, we love you!

I now know why they are legendary! The picnic was also rather nice (thank you Mr & Mrs Ellis), although I did lose a sausage thanks to a flying ‘grab and leap’ from an opportunist terrier, which was hilarious. There was just time to take a photo of Lawney Hill, and then we were on our way, with a Sunday off to look forward to (a rare luxury).

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