So, what’s the story with these AGA jokers?
Well, we’ve created a new championship this season that can be won by both the boys and the girls, and we’ll be taking it to every region of Britain. To give it a twist we have introduced the AGA jokers, which were designed and painted by a very talented colleague of mine, Silvena Toncheva (she’s also a great photographer).
The championship consists of 20 fixtures and at each of these fixtures there will be a leading rider award. This will be won by the rider who accumulates the most points on the day. Every race on the card counts, and points are awarded as follows: 1st – 10pts, 2nd – 6pts, 3rd – 4pts. The twist involves the AGA Joker, which can be played twice during the season and which will double any points that are scored.
The leading rider at each of the 20 meetings will also qualify for the ‘AGA Grand Prix Leading Rider Championship’. We recognise that one person could win the leading rider award at several different meetings, so only their best score will count for the championship. The champion will win an AGA City60 cooker and this will be presented at Stratford Racecourse on Friday 20th May. In addition to the leading rider award, we will also sponsor the ladies or mixed open race at each of the 20 fixtures.
During the past few weeks the jokers have been out and about in the point-to-point and racing community, and they also featured at the Point-to-point Authority Press and media Day last week. As you can see from the photos, the reaction has been fantastic and the jokers will be out and about throughout November as we continue the build up to the first AGA fixture at Barbury Racecourse on December 6th.
There is a theme to these jokers by the way, the pink one is for the boys and the yellow one for the girls – although it is rather obvious if you look closely!
The Point-to-Point Authority Press and Media day took place at Stratford last Thursday (29th October) and it provided an opportunity for all of the National Sponsors to give an update on their plans for the new season. It also provided me with an opportunity to show off our jokers!
We’re heading into our sixth and final year as a national sponsor and I’ll be very sad to step away from my involvement as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being the front man and driving force behind our sponsorship project, however, as I told the audience, I’ll be a point-to-point horse racing ambassador for life!
It was my turn next and the introduction from Luke Harvey made me smile, he said “this will be the easiest interview I’ve ever done”, although I think he has surpassed that today (Tuesday, 2nd November) when he interviewed Mattie Batch after the ‘Stable Stars’ Coming Soon On attheraces.com Novices’ Handicap Chase, from Plumpton.
It’s a great line-up of sponsors and there’s lots to look forward to, particularly for AGA and Subaru, as we have some great ideas for some reciprocal marketing – and not just in the point-to-point community.
Point-to-Point horse racing rarely, if ever, makes it onto the sports pages on a national level, but Victoria Pendleton puts it on the news pages. That’s pretty impressive!
The day was also about meeting some new contacts – including the two newest members of the PPA team (Becci and Cara) – and catching up with people not seen since the end of last season.
I’ve learnt an awful lot – and I’m still learning – during the last five years, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time as the ‘AGA man’ and I’m proud of the impact that the AGA sponsorship has had on pointing. We’ve raised the bar considerably and also helped to raise the profile of the sport, in particular, ladies point-to-point racing.
What next for the AGA man? I don’t know, although I’m certain that it will be exciting!