The prestigious AGA Ladies Open Point-to-Point series is coming nicely to the boil as attention turns to our final at Stratford-on-Avon Racecourse.
As we approach the business end of the season the popular and exciting AGA iTotal Control Lady Riders' Championship is again very tight - as you would expect with the prize for the winning rider being a brand new AGA iTotal Control cooker. Nobody can get more than 50 points as the best five scores count towards the championship, with points earned in the final at Stratford counting double.
The familiar figure of Jane Williams has just moved to the top of our Championship table with a total of 40 points - although long time leader Phine Banks is hot on her tail with 36 points. There are a whole host of others within striking distance, including Gina Andrews, Claire Hart and Hannah Lewis - who all have 26 points, and with a further 15 riders having scored 10 points or more there is still plenty of time remaining to get competitive with everything to play for.
The weather has caused some disruption to our season, and having lost 3 of our 34 qualifiers we have taken some steps to redress the balance and have now introduced an additional 3 races where points can still be scored for the AGA iTotal Control Lady Riders' Championship. This means that there are 10 point scoring opportunities remaining - 7 qualifiers plus 3 additional point scoring races**, meaning we have a massive 220 points still to be won before the final!
This season qualification for the final on Friday 7th June is achieved either by finishing in the first three of an AGA Ladies Open qualifying race, or by winning any other Ladies Open race. Despite the number of runners occasionally being low it is definitely a case of quality over quantity, and a feature of the season has been the extremely competitive racing that has provided us with some thrilling races and fantastic finishes.
Some interesting facts about the season to date:
**The 7 qualifiers are the Surrey Union at Peper Harrow on 4th May, the North Shropshire at Eyton-on-Severn on 6th May, the Kimblewick at Kingston Blount on 11th May, the South Durham at Mordon on 18th May, the North West P2P at Tabley on 19th May and the South Tetcott at Upcott Cross and the Pembrokeshire at Trecoed, both on 27th May. The 3 additional point scoring races are the Fitzwilliam at Dingley on 19th May, the Golden Valley at Bredwardine on 19th May, and the Grafton at Whitfield on 19th May.
AGA lady riders head for Ireland to take part in an International Point-to-Point challenge race.
Tattersalls Ireland are to hold a two day international point-to-point meeting in conjunction with the Louth Hunt at Tattersalls on the 24th and 25th May. The two day point-to-point will feature a number of Mares only races, a number of international invitational races for Gentlemen and Lady Riders' and Cross Country races for Mares and Geldings. The joint sponsored Mares only race Final, on Friday 24th is confined to 4 - 7 years only that have finished in the first four throughout the season in any Mares only point to point and will result in the winning owner receiving a bonus of €5,000 by Tattersalls Ireland which will matched by the ITBA. This initiative reflects Tattersalls Ireland ongoing support for Mares only races in the National Hunt sector.
The ladies challenge race is to be sponsored by AGA and will see a strong team from the UK lining up to do battle with their Irish counterparts. The UK team, selected by the Point-to-Point Authority, features reigning AGA champion Jacqueline Coward, reigning AGA Total Control Lady Riders Champion Claire Hart, reigning National Women's Champion & former AGA Champion Jane Williams, and very talented former National Champion (and potentially this year's AGA Champion) Georgina Andrews. The Irish team is Liz Lalor, Maxine O'Sullivan, Evanna McCutcheon and Annie Bowles, names which I am sure will become familiar during the next four weeks.
For further details please contact David Simpson on 07768 474570.