WILL BIDDICK, 18, has been race-riding for three seasons, and in 2005, was leading male novice in Devon and Cornwall, with five winners. His father, Mike Biddick, is a former point-to-point jockey and now trains pointers from his home in Cornwall. Will works for Venetia Williams and recently obtained his category B permit, riding his first winner under Rules in a novice riders’ handicap chase at Hereford in November.
OLIVER GREENALL, 19, comes from a racing family; his father, Lord Daresbury, was four-times national point-to-point champion. Oliver has been pointing for two seasons and, in 2005, was joint male national novice champion (with Tom O’Brien) and leading male novice in Yorkshire, kicking home 10 winners. Currently on his gap year, ahead of studying farm business management at Newcastle, he has been travelling around South America, where he has spent a spell working for polo professional Nacho Del Sel.
RICHARD TIERNEY, 17, was last season’s joint male under-21 novice champion, with David Gater. Richard rode three winners from six rides in 2005, a season in which his riding opportunities were cut short by a broken leg and collar-bone. Richard’s father and grandfather are racing farriers, and his great-grandfather was head man to Classic-winning trainer Captain Elsey. Richard rides out for John Quinn and Peter Niven, and had his first bumper winner on One More Step at Hexham in October.
TOM O’BRIEN, 19, had his first season in England after a couple of maiden rides in Ireland. His 10 wins and 20 places in point-to-points earned him leading novice in Wessex and he tied with Oliver Greenall as male national novice champion. In Ireland, Tom worked for his uncle Aidan O’Brien; it was at his suggestion that Tom came to work for Philip Hobbs as stable amateur. Under Rules, Tom has already notched up 15 wins.
LIAM PAYTER, 23, is in his third season, with five wins and numerous places to his credit. He was runner-up to Claire Allen for the West Midlands novice title and third in the West Midlands men’s championship. Three years ago, Liam abandoned a career in catering for one in racing; he now works for Matt Sheppard, where he is yard amateur and is starting to pick up some rides under Rules.
EMMA BRADER, 22. Following an initial ride in 2000, Emma has overcome the hurdles of school, parental control and lack of a suitable novice rider’s horse to become Yorkshire’s leading female novice in 2005. Her home-bred Duchess Account completed an impressive 30 days’ hunting prior to partnering Emma to three pointing wins. It’s a third-generation team because her grandfather, a Yorkshire men’s champion in the early 1960s, rode the mare’s grandam to victory at Charm Park. Emma is personal assistant to Godfrey Bloom, MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire — one of the few pro-hunting MEPs.
JONATHON JARRETT, 19, has been pointing for three seasons. He works for Henrietta Knight. In 2005 he was runner-up, to John Russell, in the Harley Racing Novice Riders’ Race series with five winners. Hunting and pointing have always been important factors in Jonathon’s life — his father, Martin Jarrett, hunts the North Shropshire. Jonathon spent holidays and weekends riding out for Steve Brookshaw.
VANESSA SHAW, 21, currently combines studying for a degree in photography with working for NH trainer Chris Down, which is keeping her fit.
After attending point-to-points as a spectator, her dream was always to have a go — 2005 was her third season and Vanessa notched up six winners and was Devon and Cornwall’s leading female novice.
KATHERINE HOBBS, 19, scored five wins in her first season, making her the highest-placed female rider in the Wessex novice championship. Her father is trainer Philip Hobbs and her mother, Sarah, was a successful point-to-pointer. Currently working for John Hammond in France, where she is working on improving her riding and her French, Katherine will return to take up the reins in points midway in 2006.
KELLY BRYSON, 19, was leading female novice under-21 for the Princess Royal Trophy, and leading novice rider in the northern region, riding seven winners. She discovered pointing while on work placement with Simon and Phillipa Shirley Beavan, her current employers.