Northgeorge (pictured, above) was crowned the Subaru restricted point-to-point series winner at Stratford’s Foxhunters meeting yesterday (Friday 20 May).
The eight-year-old trained by Jonathan Tudor won a 12 months’ lease of a Subaru Forester for owner Steve Young. At the presentation, Steve handed the keys for the 4×4 to the horse’s jockey, Byron Moorcroft.
“He’s done all the hard work and ridden so well all season. He deserves it,” said Steve, who runs a medical supplies business. “This horse means everything to me; he’s the first I’ve owned and this is my first season being involved in point-to-pointing. I love it.”
Byron, 28, said: “I’m delighted with the horse, particularly how fast he went early on today. We didn’t quite have enough turn of foot after the last but he’s been consistent all season.”
The Subaru restricted series is for horses who have not won under rules (with the exception of a maiden or hunt members race) and it is a points-based series, with horses accumulating points since November.
Northgeorge finished third in the final race, but with four wins, three seconds and two thirds already under his belt this season, it was good enough to secure the series title.
Jockey survives slipping saddle
The Teresa Clark-owned Our Chief survived his saddle slipping back and a hairy jump at the last to win the final, ahead of Exclusive Rights (Claire Hart) and Northgeorge, and secured the £6,000 prize for the White, Phippen and Finn Partnership.
Jockey Martin McIntyre was consequently handed a two-day ban following a stewards enquiry, who concluded he was interfering with the horse on the home straight.
“I had to sit up to the last because the girth was right back and the saddle was wobbling,” said Martin. “I think my suspension is a bit harsh; at the end of the day he was in touch and trying hard.”
This seven-year-old by Old Vic struggled with a breathing problem earlier in the year and underwent a wind operation.
“I said at the start of the season I wanted to nail a hunter chase and I thought this horse was capable. But then I saw the field here today and thought coming third would be good,” said Teresa. “This is my biggest win as a trainer — he’s a delightful horse to have on the yard.”
Hart takes ladies’ title
The £10,000 AGA ladies final saw Claire Hart take the title aboard the Hutsbys’-owned and trained Penmore Hill. Pauline Harkin’s Popaway (Immy Robinson) closed the gap after the last to be beaten by three-quarters of a length. The favourite Queens Bay (Bryony Frost) finished third.
This was the concluding race for the AGA series, as the sponsorship has come to an end after six years.
AGA’s David Simpson, a popular face on the circuit who is fondly known as ‘the AGA man’, said it was “an emotional day”, but added that having “six runners for a £10,000 final would suggest the series has run its course”.
Don’t miss the Stratford report and more coverage of this weekend’s point-to-point action in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound, on sale 26 May.