Jacqueline Coward: Desperately seeking jockeys [H&H VIP]

  • The past two weekends have seen two hunts hold their meetings at new venues for the first time up here in Yorkshire, including the Badsworth & Bramham Moor Hunt, who held their meeting at the new Askham Bryan venue, and the Middleton, who held theirs at Sheriff Hutton for the first time.

    Both days were deemed successful, and we are already looking forward to next year.

    There were plenty of great stories, including cousin William Easterby who tells me that, now he has won the prestigious Grimthorpe Gold Cup the last three years on the same horse — Monsieur Jourdain — he is allowed to keep the magnificent trophy!

    Easter Bank Holiday weekend is always busy with meetings, and this weekend was no exception with 12 meetings on Saturday and 11 on Monday. Entries ranged from 33 at Whittington to 123 entries at Four Burrow.

    Shortage of jockeys

    Talking of fixtures, in Yorkshire, owners and trainers are struggling to find jockeys to race ride: unfortunately, a lot of us seem to be injured — me included.

    Not only that, but when there is a hunter chase on in the same area and on the same weekend as a point-to-point, not only is there a shortage of horses running, but also of jockeys to ride them.

    On Easter Sunday, there were two hunter chases held at Sedgefield, where 19 ran in total. I think this would have been a different case if there was a point-to-point meeting.

    While we were all pointing on Saturday, ex-amateur jockeys stole the limelight winning all the races at Haydock, despite being up against top professionals such as AP McCoy.

    Most of these boys have risen up through the point-to-point ranks, showing just how important pointing is for the future of the sport.

    AP started his career in point-to-pointing — could one of these six conditionals be the next AP?

    Ref: Horse & Hound; 9 April 2015