Jacqueline Coward: winning local ‘Gold Cups’ and helping out [H&H VIP]

  • Mum [Cherry Coward] is finally back from her stint in hospital and at home recovering [following a fall]. She even managed to get out of the car and greet stable star Amicelli as he walked back up the steep Whitwell Hill after we’d won the Middleton hunt race.

    It’s the first time I’ve ever won my own hunt race and it was very special to win at the last Whitwell-on-the-Hill meeting.

    I’ve now had the privilege to ride in three competitive hunt races this season and managed to win them all. The local owners and trainers are always overjoyed with excitement at winning their hunt race. When riding, I always feel under a bit more pressure because everybody wants to win their once-a-year hunt race — it’s like your local “Gold Cup”.

    Easter is one of our busiest weekends, especially this year as there is pointing on Easter Sunday at Mordon, the only Sunday meeting in the country, as well as Easter Monday.

    The Staintondale point-to-point, which is usually held at Charm Park, is this year taking place at Sheriff Hutton on Easter Monday, as they couldn’t get enough hunt helpers. Jack Berry, vice-president of the Injured Jockeys Fund, is helping them out with sponsorship, so half the money raised will go to Jack Berry House, more commonly known as “the house that Jack built”.

    This is a rehabilitation centre in Malton for injured jockeys and people involved in racing.

    It’s very hard to find people with the enthusiasm to go out and get sponsors or even just help at point-to-points. We should be looking at bringing areas together and encouraging local businesses to get involved in the sport, perhaps even local charities and clubs?

    Someone once said to me, if you go past a sign that says “caravan club”, would you call in? So why would any passerby call in at a sign saying “point-to-point”? We need to think hard about how we are to encourage new people into our sport.

    Harriet Bethell, who has a name for herself under Rules, rode her first ever ladies’ open winner on Saturday on Call Me Mulligan in the AGA race — a well deserved victory.