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Champions announced early after season’s premature end

The Point-to-Point Authority (PPA) has announced the 2019/20 national champions after the season ended prematurely owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesman for the PPA said the organisation had decided to use the standings on 16 March – the day after the final fixtures – and the awards are due to be presented at the PPA national dinner at Cheltenham racecourse later this year.

Jack Andrews, who rode his 100th point-to-point winner this season at Horseheath on Fumet D’Oudairies, took the men’s championship for the first time with 21 winners. Gina Andrews, Jack’s sister, rode 22 winners to take the ladies’ championship title for a seventh time. Tom Ellis, Gina’s husband, won the trainers’ championship for yards with eight or more horses, with 27 winners.

The hunter chase trainers’ title was shared by Rose Loxton, Paul Nicholls and Josh Guerriero with four wins each. Jack Teal took the trainers’ title for seven or fewer horses and David Maxwell took the leading hunter chase riders’ title.

The John Heard-trained Navanman was crowned champion horse, and Cottage Rose took the maiden mares’ title. Sarah Easterby was the leading owner, with six winners.

Angus Cheleda won the novice men’s championship with six wins, having switched from conditional to amateur jockey status. Paige Topley landed the novice women’s title with four winners, and was also runner-up to Gina in the ladies’ title.

PPA spokesman Adam Hurley said the winners were “all deserving of their awards”.

“They come from a good geographical spread and we wanted to honour them and recognise the support of Tattersalls, the headline sponsor of the national dinner,” he said.

“If current restrictions relating to the coronavirus shutdown have been lifted, the awards dinner will be an opportunity to come together and show that the sport can bounce back.”

Jack said “no one wanted the season to end like it did”.

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“It feels a little hollow to win it in this way, but as people have said to me it will be there in black and white in years to come, and I have to look at it in that light,” he said. “I was lucky to get on a good run with a treble at Charing, two at Horseheath and four at Ampton, at which point I thought about really going for the title.

“There were no titles awarded in the year of foot and mouth, but this is different – we’ve been racing for five months. I’ve ridden for some great people on some lovely horses. I set myself a goal of 20 winners at the start of the season, and it feels good to have passed that total.”

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