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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!