Yorkshire’s first meeting of the season took place last Sunday (26 April), and with unseasonably dry weather for the time of year, the watering really mattered.
But clerk of the course Phil Clark and his team did a fantastic job at the York & Ainsty (North and South) meeting at Easingwold, and it showed by the great number of runners and entries.
The track at Easingwold wouldn’t be the easiest for a debutant to negotiate, particularly with the sharp bend up and down dale, but it wasn’t a bother for first-time jockey Fergus Gregory.
He was having his first point-to-point ride on a horse of mine called James Wyatt in the club members riders’ conditions race. Fergus had a scary moment at the first, but other than that he rode a peach.
Pony racing definitely benefits these aspiring jockeys and we must try and encourage our point-to-points to hold them if their course is suitable. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to produce a British AP McCoy?
Talking of our champion jockey, Saturday at Sandown races — where AP rode in his last race before hanging up his boots — was a huge day and will stay in our memories forever.
Now that we can’t watch AP anymore, we can all learn from his greatest rival, Richard Johnson, a gentleman and fantastic rider who will be aiming for the champion jockey title next season.
A horse with wings
It has been hard finding jockeys to ride my horses for me this season, as I’m still off injured, but I was delighted to give my good friend Catherine Walton a winner on my 13-year-old Pevensey in the ladies’ open at Easingwold.
Despite his years, he still has the speed of a Royal Ascot winner eight years on [he won the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes in 2008].
It’s truly the best feeling when your mount has wings.
Ref: H&H 30 April, 2015