Cottage Oak qualifies for the AGA final with an easy win at Sandon

There were a lot of fixtures to choose from during the Easter period, and with AGA championship points at stake, as well as qualification for the AGA final, choosing well was essential. Sandon was a very good choice!

The Iconic AGA Mini had a prime spot
The Iconic AGA Mini had a prime spot

The only blip was the number of runners in our race as the entries had promised much, however, we ended up with a match! I don’t want to dwell on that because there were far too many positives to take from the day, and our series has been blessed with some superb races this season, and some very high quality horses (and riders) have contested it. I will however, say thank you to Jo Priest for running her horse and avoiding a walkover.

Katie Young lines up with the young pony riders in the paddock
Katie Young lines up with the young pony riders in the paddock

The action got underway with a couple of pony races, and I was able to take quite a few pics, although I didn’t get up and down the hill for both races, just the first one! I think the boys and girls are starting to get used to me now, and I’m sure that they enjoy seeing the photos that I post on the AGA point-to-point Facebook page, plus some have also made it into Go Pointing!

Four declared in both pony races
Four declared in both pony races
Honkey Tonk Girl and Ella McCain
Honkey Tonk Girl and Ella McCain (can anyone spot the Weatherbys man?)
Clear The Track and Ger Supple
Clear The Track and Ger Supple
Clear The Track wins the Edge Goodrich 13.2 and under Pony Race
Clear The Track wins the Edge Goodrich 13.2 and under Pony Race
Tigga (Marnie Green, no. 13) & Ravara Super Ted (Camilla Broster), 3rd & 4th in the Edge Goodrich 13.2 and under Pony Race
Tigga (Marnie Green, no. 13) & Ravara Super Ted (Camilla Broster), 3rd & 4th in the Edge Goodrich 13.2 and under Pony Race

Presentations followed, with Easter eggs for all of the young riders, and then it was time for the Members race. For the second week running I was joined by some AGA colleagues, and I’m pleased to say that they all thoroughly enjoyed their day!

The Supples
The Supples
Abbie McCain, winner of the Hall & Pickles 14.2 and under Pony Race
Abbie McCain, winner of the Hall & Pickles 14.2 and under Pony Race

Sue Sharratt and Cluthe Boy were very, very, very popular winners of the Members (at her local course), and the pair returned to the winners enclosure to rapturous applause!

Sue Sharratt wins the Members!
Sue Sharratt wins the Members!

I had bumped into Annie and Heather Dalton at Bitterley the previous weekend and had said to Annie (and I quote), “it’s about time we saw you in an AGA race”. Well, I got my wish today as she lined up to face Jane Williams and Cottage Oak, Annie getting the leg up on History Master.

AGA girls!
AGA girls!
Cottage Oak leads History Master
Cottage Oak leads History Master

It was an easy win for Cottage Oak and he is now qualified for the AGA final at Stratford Racecourse on 30th May. It will be good to see him there, and I’m certain that Mr O’Shea and Mr Hewitt will add something to the evening, bring it on!

Happy connections
Happy connections
The things we end up doing when we win an AGA race!
The things we end up doing when we win an AGA race!

The AGA Iconic Mini was used as the backdrop for the presentation photos and then we had some fun (more was to follow later) as first Jane, and then Sue were photographed ‘on’ the Mini, rather than in it!

Sue climbs aboard
Sue climbs aboard
The boys give Annie Dalton a lift
The boys give Annie Dalton a lift

Will Biddick and Josh Guerriero had been watching the photo shoot with Jane and Sue and they begged me to take some photos of them with the Mini. Well, they are top lads so I couldn’t let them down and I asked Annie Dalton to join in as well. Annie was concerned that the photos would look staged but I think they are great, and comments about a ‘rose between two thorns’ are most unkind!

'It looks staged!'
This doesn’t look staged …
Never Give Up!
Never Give Up!

It was nice to see a win in the PPORA Club Members Conditions race for Pauline and Doug Harkin with Never Give Up (owned by the ‘Never Give Up Club’), and we had some more fun after the race, this time with their jockey, Toby Betambeau.

Part one of the trophy presentation
Part one of the trophy presentation
Part two ... with some input from the AGA man!
Part two … with some input from the AGA man!

Toby wasn’t sure about my request to pop the trophy on his head but Doug obliged and I got the photo … another one that made Go Pointing, as part of my Been Pointing photo round-up.

Mother and daughter
Mother and daughter – a great photo!

And that was it, it was time to take the AGA banners down and say a very big THANK YOU to Sandra Nield and John Tellwright, plus everyone else at the North Staffs. Another ‘good one’ chalked up, and a course that I will definitely return to!

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