Jacqueline Coward: Tasty incentives [H&H VIP]

  • It was a bittersweet trip to Friars Haugh for me (25 January). I was stopped for speeding on the journey up, but thankfully it was worth it after Botany Cove gave me a great spin to win the intermediate.

    It was good to see the Jedforest point-to-point doing so much to attract people to pointing, especially when weather is so poor.

    The introduction of a heated carvery lunch tent with the racing televised live, and competitions to win a lesson with event riders Oliver Townend and Emily Galbraith, trebled the gate. Sponsors need crowds to make it worth their while, and attracting new people to the sport can only be a good thing.

    I know more ideas are afoot and I look forward to hearing more about them for next year.

    Pro-am racing

    I’ve been following the entries of the hunter chases and noticed there are a lot of professionally trained horses. And they are not just any old horses — they all seem to be rated well into the 100s.

    I hear mixed views: some say it makes it more competitive, but most think it’s very unfair. Why can’t these fantastic horses, whom we all love to see pointing and hunter chasing, be trained by people who do not hold a professional licence?

    It was great seeing the 14-year-old legend Coombe Hill win with Darren Edwards at Wincanton (29 January). Previously trained and ridden by Charlotte Tizzard, Coombe Hill is now with trainer Chris Honour, which is what pointing is all about.

    Talking of true amateurs, Jill Dawson’s Palypso De Creek won the Racing UK Anywhere Open Hunter’s Chase for the third year on the bounce under Claire Hart at Wetherby (31 January).

    Jill has ridden and trained many winners over the years and is currently battling with cancer so it makes the win all the more special. Thoughts are with Jill and her family.

    To top off a great weekend, my friend Catherine Walton had a treble at Alnwick. She is the jockey you want at Alnwick and plays a great waiting game. Can the ladies championship be won again by a northerner?

    Ref: Horse & Hound; 5 February 2015