Jacqueline Coward: a great Stratford, but where is the next generation? [H&H VIP]

  • Stratford’s champion hunter chase evening included four incredibly exciting hunter chases, and the average number of runners in each race was 11 — a good show for the end of season.

    The weather conditions of late have meant trainers have kept their horses in for longer as the ground has not been firm yet.

    Some interesting points were raised at the Point-to-Point Owners’ and Riders’ Association AGM. One suggestion was there should be an alternative to jockeys paying a fine for infringements — such as the option of a ban — as some riders don’t earn much and can struggle to pay.

    Race planning and dates clashing was a big talking point. Hunts and clubs are going to be encouraged to alter their races to suit the needs of their area.
    Something I noticed during the meeting was the lack of younger people. If it weren’t for two girl jockeys, Oliver Greenall and myself, there wouldn’t have been any at all. How can we encourage the next generation to be more involved in the running of the sport to ensure its future?

    Team GBR did us proud on 23 May when we won the Tattersalls Ireland International point-to-point. Our boys were in the first three, with our golden boy Will Biddick taking top spot once again.

    The girls didn’t do quite so well. Bryony Frost picked up a few points for us, so we weren’t totally disgraced.

    I hit the deck at the third fence and only six horses completed out of the 17-runner maiden. The laughs more than made up for our performance. We hope to invite the Irish back next year to have a third rematch on our home turf and see if they can have as much fun as we’ve had.