New rider crowned champion as 10-year domination comes to an end

  • Izzie Marshall has been crowned ladies’ point-to-point jockey champion for the first time, beating 10-time victor Gina Andrews to the title on the final day of the 2023/24 championship, notching 24 victories to Gina’s 21.

    “The past few weeks have been really tense – I don’t have any fingernails left,” said 24-year-old Izzie, who is most strongly associated with the yard of Alan and Lawney Hill. “Although Gina is a fellow competitor, she is also one of my best mates in the weighing room. I’ve always looked up to her – she is an incredible horsewoman. In previous years, I’ve had my own championship in my head, where I’ve tried my best to finish second to her, because she is such a formidable jockey.”

    Izzie, who was champion novice lady jockey in 2017 and has finished runner-up to Gina in the ladies’ championship four times, added: “I feel overwhelmed by the amount of support I had when I was in with a squeak of winning the title this season. I’m lucky to be given opportunities by so many trainers and I’m in a bit of disbelief, to be honest.”

    Speaking of her approach to clinching the championship, Oxfordshire-based Izzie said: “I took every week as it came – I didn’t let myself believe it would be a possibility until we neared the end. I kept my head down and kept going – I just wanted to ride as many winners as possible and come out safe and sound.”

    James King now has three men’s jockey championships to his name thanks to an unassailable season in the saddle. He scored on 49 occasions, with his nearest rival and last year’s champion Will Biddick, clocking 34 winners.

    “All the horses I was riding were firing this season and very few were hitting the crossbar,”said 27-year-old James. “It’s been great from start to finish. I’ve ridden for some great trainers, who between them have travelled the length and breadth of the country.”

    Joshua Newman fought off Alan Hill and Max Comley to claim the championship for trainers with 15 or more horses in their care. Jockey/trainer Joshua, who is based in Somerset, notched 27 winners compared to Hill’s 25 and Comley’s 22.

    “It feels great to get it over the line,” explained Josh, 32, who took the trainers championship for those with six to 14 horses last year. “In the latter stages of the season, we were only one, two, or a maximum of three winners in front – we had an awful lot of placings and mainly seconds, which meant we couldn’t get a firm handle of the championship, even though we never really had a bad weekend.

    “We weren’t aiming to win this championship at the beginning of this season – we just wanted to build on last year. We started off a bit slow with horses needing their first runs, and then from the middle part of the season onwards, we started thinking about winning it. I’m so pleased for my staff, who work so hard, and the owners who have supported us – we really try to make it a team thing.”

    Edward Vaughan, whose father Tim Vaughan is leading owner for the 2023/24 season, has enjoyed a wonderful start to his pointing career, picking up 28 winners en-route to clinching the novice mens’ jockey title, while Anna Johnston is champion novice female jockey with four winners.

    Twelve months ago, Devon trainer Dean Summersby had endured a tough season with horses that were running below par, but they returned to form to help the trainer to the championship for those with six to 14 horses in their care.

    Robert Varnham is champion trainer for those with five or fewer horses, while the highly consistent Grace A Vous Enki is champion horse with six wins from seven runs this season for trainer Nicky Sheppard and owner Mrs J. Hitchings.

    The JRL Group point-to-point Flat series was taken by trainer William Easterby and jockey Jack Andrews.

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