Point-to-point horse racing with a difference as the Heythrop provide something for everyone on a superb day in the Cotswolds

We had a good feeling as we headed down the Fosse Way to Cocklebarrow Farm on Sunday (25th January), in fact such was the good mood that we were even singing along to Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs (we like Wrighty but we don’t usually do love songs!). Anticipation was high that we would witness some good racing, but the Heythrop had also arranged plenty of entertainment off the course as well, and this included a ‘Tough Farmer competition’ – sponsored by John Deere – which turned out to be fiercely competitive.

Love Manhattan and Tom Chatfeild-Roberts get the day off to a great start by winning the first Subaru Restricted of 2015
Love Manhattan and Tom Chatfeild-Roberts get the day off to a great start by winning the first Subaru Restricted of 2015

This was a seriously well organised event and the Heythrop were rewarded with a heavyweight list of major sponsors, including new National Point-to-Point Sponsor, Subaru; event Title Sponsor, Savills; and race sponsors Knight Frank, Carter Jonas, The Kings Head Inn-Bledington and B A Hull.

A handshake for winning rider, Tom Chatfeild-Roberts from Subaru Dealer Principal, Stephen Wilkins, while winning owner, John Chatfeild-Roberts looks on
A handshake for winning rider, Tom Chatfeild-Roberts from Subaru Dealer Principal, Stephen Wilkins, while winning owner, John Chatfeild-Roberts looks on

It was a bit chilly but there was a heated picnic marque, sponsored by Talk Talk; and a ‘kids zone’, which was sponsored by Neptune Investment Management, so shelter was always close at hand if the bracing Cotswold air was not to your liking!

Sara Moule hugs Christopher Marriott after Dabinett Moon had taken the Members race
Sara Moule hugs Christopher Marriott after Dabinett Moon had taken the Members race
Fran and Rupert
Rupert Sweeting presents Fran Marriott with the Brassey Cup
I can't resist one more, this time featuring the winning rider, Claire Hart, who is off the mark for the season (and she got a fabulous reception from her fan club!)
I can’t resist one more, this time featuring the winning rider, Claire Hart, who is now off the mark for the season (and she got a fabulous reception from her fan club!)
Mrs S was on BTO duty for the AGA sponsored PPORA Club Members' race for novice riders
Mrs S was on BTO duty for the AGA sponsored PPORA Club Members’ race for novice riders
Novice rider, John Smith-Maxwell powers home on Jetnova to win the AGA sponsored PPORA Club Members race
Novice rider, John Smith-Maxwell powers home on Jetnova to win the AGA sponsored PPORA Club Members race
This was the first leg of a training double for Tom Weston (far left)
This was the first leg of a training double for Tom Weston (far left)
060-Nice rug
Nice rug! Jetnova sports one of the AGA rugs that are supplied by Harley Equestrian
Nice pose, Olivia!
Nice pose! Jetnova pricks his ears for the camera with Charlie Weston (left) and Olivia Weston
South Midlands area PRO, Jake Exelby has a few words with Tom Weston
South Midlands area PRO, Jake Exelby has a few words with Tom Weston, read Jake’s report here
I could be wrong, but I have a hunch that this fella rather enjoyed himself!
I could be wrong, but I have a hunch that this fella rather enjoyed himself on Sunday!
Six times ladies champion and pointing legend, Pat Tollit joined John and Kathryn for a nice family photo
Six times ladies champion and pointing legend, Pat Tollit joined John and Kathryn for a nice family photo

Right, it’s time for a confession from me. The Heythrop very kindly invited us to lunch with some of our fellow sponsors and their guests, an invite which was gratefully accepted. But, if you’re going to eat lunch then you’re going to miss some racing, although the AGA man would never miss a ladies open race… would I? I’m afraid I did, and I missed a real cracker, which just so happened to have the closest finish of the day. So, Heidi Brookshaw and Hannah Watson, please accept my apology as I was deep in conversation with the Subaru team as Ballyjames crossed the line!

Sleepy
After a couple of hours in the fresh air, Mrs S was a little sleepy after lunch!
Brownie winner
Elizabeth (left) and Lucy Woodhouse, Elizabeth baked some delicious brownies and has just claimed her AGA hat

After boring everyone to tears on Saturday evening and Sunday morning with numerous social media updates about my delicious AGA baked triple chocolate brownies, it was time for some tasting. What was the verdict? Well, there weren’t any left so that’s a good sign, but the report card would read “not bad at all for a first attempt but they probably could have done with 5 minutes less in the AGA”. Another couple of comments worth noting are “they tasted a bit cakey” – Carol Hope, and “I need some custard” – Claire Hart.

Dave S
Dave Sunderland was impressed, in fact he tried to take the whole tin!
Verdict
Mrs Hart and Mrs Hope give their verdict, while Mrs S had this to say – “I wish he’d get out of my kitchen!”
Derek
Derek Freathy was so impressed he had two!
Last winner
Katie Price didn’t get a brownie but she did win the last race with Champagne Benefit
Pals
Lutie Akinci and Lucy Wheeler both had a brownie (and lived to tell the tale), plus, Lutie finally got the rest of her prize for winning the AGA hat competition!

Sarah Jane-Davies won three AGA ladies open races on Upton Springs, and she also finished 2nd on the same horse in the very first AGA final at Cheltenham, however, AGA hats had not been invented back then so she missed out… until today that is!

SJD
SJD finally gets to wear one of the most sought after hats in the world!

And that was it, another marvellous day on a point-to-point course was almost over, all that was left to do was to take the muddy AGA banners down and say farewell to friends old and new. The winter tyres proved a godsend as we slid our way towards the exit and I brought home what seemed like half a ton of claggy Cotswold mud, but what a day! Well done Heythrop team, can’t wait for the next one!

2 Thoughts

  1. A truly wonderful fantastic day on a course that ourselves together with many others help pick up the stones that now form a grandstand view from the mound created with those Cotswold stones..
    As an owner forever lamenting the passing of Fox Farm on those memorable Tuesday afternoons in April, Heythrop was the next best thing. I had my doubts about Cocklebarrow’s surface to run your horse on but due to Charlie Brooks and his team’s stupendous efforts the ground this year was perfect.
    All thanks to all involved before and on the day and a special thanks to the Phillips and Wills families their kind permission to allow racing on their land. It will be a sad day surely if all those volunteers Sponsors and land owners where not so enthusiastic for Hunting and the Point to Point racing,each so very much connected. One minor improvement to put to the Committee next year, particularly in the cold blast of January my other half would like them to considered the segregation of toilets, greatly appreciated by the Ladies she is sure.

    Norman Stevens and Norma Field .

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