Champions crowned after record-breaking season

  • Gina Andrews clinched her ninth point-to-point ladies’ championship in a record-breaking year, while James King successfully retained his crown in the men’s title.

    Gina’s 48 point-to-point wins in the 2021/22 season left her 24 clear of her nearest rival, Izzie Marshall, to lift the championship trophy for the ninth consecutive year.

    The 30-year-old enjoyed a remarkable 40% strike-rate this season, with just one fall.

    “I couldn’t believe it when I realised I only had one fall this season, and it came on the best horse in the yard,” she said, referring to Latenightpass with whom she went on to win the Aintree Foxhunters. “I always try to avoid unseating, and it’s nice to do that, but only one fall is remarkable.”

    Gina’s season involved breaking Polly Gundry’s record to become the winning-most lady rider of all time in British point-to-points, with her milestone 304th victory aboard £800 chance buy Fumet D’Oudairies in January. That record now stands at 346.

    There was also the highlight of that Aintree Foxhunters glory on a horse trained by her husband, Tom Ellis – also a record-breaker this season, and owned and bred by her mother-in-law, Pippa Ellis.

    “The thrill of winning over those fences is something else,” added Gina.

    Tom, who surpassed Jack Barber’s record for the number of pointing winners trained in a season, set at 51 in 2014/15, with an across-card four-timer on Easter Saturday, sealed his fourth trainers’ championship and set the new bar at 62 winners.

    James King’s nine winners in five days on the penultimate week (report, 9 June) gave him an unassailable lead over Will Biddick. James, 26, capped his season with a win at Umberleigh, taking his total to 62 and finishing 11 ahead of Will.

    “A month ago, it was nip and tuck with Will, but I thought I had a very good chance because the horses I ride would go right to the end of the season,” said James, who enjoyed successful partnerships with yards including 2021/22 leading owner Luke Price as well as Francesca and Charlie Poste.

    “Until last season, I didn’t have a big yard to ride for, but then I became involved with Fran and Charlie Poste and Luke. One yard tends to run their horses early in the season and the other targets the latter part, so it works well.”

    Evergreen veteran front-runner Southfield Theatre, owned by Angela Yeoman, is the 2021/22 champion horse. The 14-year-old, partnered in all his starts between the flags by Lily Bradstock, won eight of his 10 races this year for trainer Sara Bradstock, finishing runner-up on the other two occasions.

    Olive Nicholls, 16, scored the novice ladies’ championship in her first year with 11 wins. The men’s novice title went to the final day of the season, with Charlie Sprake edging ahead of Freddie Gordon with a double at Umberleigh (report, p58).

    The leading trainer prize, for those with seven or fewer horses, was also wrapped up at Umberleigh, with the accolade going to Jenny Gordon, mother of Freddie. Sam Loxton and Jenny both ended the season on 12, which meant the decision was decided on placings.

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