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The importance of the weather on the success of point-to-point meetings has been evident the past few weekends, when hunts hosting their annual meetings have been blessed with sunshine, bringing out the valuable ‘picnic crowd’.

During this time the ups and downs of horseracing have been as evident as ever, as well.

On the up side, On The Fringe put in a classy performance to take the Aintree Fox Hunters (one of the key races in the amateur calendar), while Many Clouds capped his own glorious campaign by battling his way to Grand National glory, having started his season nearly six months ago at Carlisle.

Sam Waley-Cohen notched up another win for amateurs over our professional counterparts in the Topham at Aintree, and Guy Disney returned to the winner’s enclosure, despite having lost the bottom half of his right leg in Afghanistan in 2009.

Finally, and incredibly, the one and only Luke “Porlock Bay” Harvey managed to get time off from the Attheraces TV channel to train a winner at Hackwood Park. Having part-trained the horse myself in three previous outings, I was delighted to see my efforts pay off when I was unable to ride.

Risks faced by riders

On the down side, the unfortunate loss of Seedling a few races before the Grand National triggered unwanted negative publicity, while the serious injuries suffered by Robbie McNamara (eight broken ribs, a punctured lung and spinal injuries) and Davy Condon (spinal concussion and temporary paralysis) highlighted the risks faced by riders.

Fellow West Country point-to-point rider Ed Barrett suffered a horrific fall at Upcott Cross on 12 April, and remains in hospital with severe neck injuries. Ed is a really nice lad and well-respected jockey; I have my fingers firmly crossed for positive news.

Ref: H&H 22 April, 2015