From AGA man to Bidpoint man, a very interesting journey!

It’s been a while since my last blog post so I have some catching up to do and some gaps to fill in, starting here…

When we left Stratford Racecourse on the evening of Friday, 25th May 2015, I was on a high. I posted a photo on Snapchat that was captioned “we smashed it tonight”, and shortly afterwards I published a blog post – “Pride and relief for the AGA man as the curtain comes down on another exciting season”. As you can tell, I was in a pretty good mood and that really would have been the perfect moment to walk away, to draw a line under five enjoyable years of AGA point-to-point horse racing sponsorship, to say our thank you’s and make a graceful exit.

The AGA finalists head out on their final circuit
A rear view of the field for the 2015 AGA final – yet another thrilling season finale

Fast forward almost 11 months and AGA are still here, just! Although I’m no longer the AGA man (my choice I might add), and this blog no longer carries the AGA name in the title (it’s all mine now). I’m still looking after the sponsorship on behalf of AGA, but that will all change at the end of the current series (at Mollington on Monday, 2nd May), although I’ll be back at Stratford Racecourse for a swansong on Friday, 20th May. Sadly, that will be without the brilliant end of series party that we have hosted for the past five seasons – I may sulk for a while!

Jane Williams won the 2015 AGA final (her 2nd final) and Hannah Lewis won the 2015 AGA championship (her second title)
Jane Williams won the 2015 AGA final (her 2nd final) and Hannah Lewis won the 2015 AGA championship (her second title)

The summer and autumn were as busy as any I’ve known and there were plenty of highlights. Among them were the West Midlands Point-to-Point area awards dinner, a couple of  splendid weddings, a day in the sun at Manor Farm Stables in Ditcheat with Paul Nicholls and his team, a meeting with H.R.H. The Princess Royal at the Leger Legends lunch, and a Caribbean adventure! As autumn drew to a close I also became a ‘Cotswold Chancer’ (thanks to the Nailor family) and a member of ‘The Ice and a Slice Partnership’ (thanks to G&T Ellis Racing), but more of that later!

This is probably a once in a lifetime experience
This is probably a once in a lifetime experience
Mrs S was in her element, she loved it!
Mrs S was in her element, she loved it!

As winter loomed the pre-season preparations started in earnest with the PPA (Point-to-Point Authority) Press and Media day at Stratford Racecourse, and this was soon followed by the PPA National Awards Dinner in November. Then, before you knew it, we were at Black Forest Lodge for the first day of the new season, in fact it was a day of firsts!

My first sight of Victoria Pendleton on a point-to-point racecourse
My first sight of Victoria Pendleton on a point-to-point racecourse
My first sight of this partnership on a point-to-point racecourse, the mighty Argentato and Jordan Nailor
My first sight of this partnership on a point-to-point racecourse, the mighty Argentato and Jordan Nailor
Jordan with his sponsor (Derek), dad (Kevin) and sister (Gracie)
My first sight of Jordan in the winners enclosure, seen here with his sponsor (Derek), dad (Kevin) and sister (Gracie)
My first winner!
My first winner – should have had a haircut!
Fran's first trophy!
Fran’s first trophy!

One piece of advice that I was given was to celebrate any good days and winners like they would be your last, plus, Lawney Hill added that if you have a winner there’s a rule that says you’re not allowed to get home on the same day that you left the house! I like that rule!

Celebrations continued in the pub with the Nailor family and the happy trainer (Claire Hart)
Celebrations continued in the pub with the Nailor family and the happy trainer (Claire Hart)

That’s some of the gaps filled but I’ve been to 21 point-to-point fixtures in the UK since that day at BFL and 1 in Ireland (so there’s lots more to talk about, and lots more photos to share), plus I’ve had a bit of a career change. The AGA man has retired and I’m now the Bidpoint man!

BIDPOINT - the new way to buy an Irish Point-to-Pointer
BIDPOINT – the new way to buy an Irish Point-to-Pointer

Tattersalls Ireland are a serious outfit and I’m very excited about this Bidpoint appointment, in fact, it’s the first time that I’ve ever had a press release to announce a new appointment. The afore-mentioned press release received some very good coverage and the reaction to the news from friends and connections was tremendous, both in person and on social media. After exactly a month we are making progress – but there’s still much work to be done. Bidpoint is a great concept and I believe that it deserves a blog post all of its own to explain how it works in more detail – so that will follow next week.

That’s all from me for now, we’re off to support the North Warwickshire Hunt Club fixture at our local point-to-point course – Mollington. Have a great weekend all, and don’t forget to give me a shout if you have any Bidpoint questions.

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