ANGLO-IRISH CHALLENGE REPORT – KINGSTON BLOUNT POINT-TO-POINT 26 May 2017

IRELAND were celebrating after finally breaking their duck in the Bicester Office Park Anglo-Irish Challenge with an emphatic victory over Great Britain at Kingston Blount in Oxfordshire.

Such was the dominance of the visiting riders that they sealed a first win in the annual jockeys’ competition after just three of the four races – reeling off a quickfire treble.
And for good measure they went on to land the fourth race to complete a clean sweep and a resounding 81-43 triumph on points to end Britain’s four-year winning streak.
Reigning Irish men’s champion Jamie Codd, who triumphed on Ka Maresco, said: “It is brilliant. It is the fifth year and the first year we have won it. We have a bit of catching up to do.

“They have been bullying us for the last couple of years. It is a great event. You can see that with the crowd here.”
And five-times Irish ladies’ champion Liz Lalor, who struck on Harris Garden, added: “They beat us last year and at Chaddesley Corbett and in the years before that, so it is about time we had payback.

“It is a great clean sweep for the Irish.”

Britain’s men’s champion Will Biddick conceded: “It is good for the Irish. We will be looking to go to Ireland next time to bring back the crown.”
With a good-sized crowd turning up and the teams of four men from the two countries allotted horses in an open draw, it was Irish legend Derek O’Connor who set the event alight with a brilliant ride on 20-1 outsider Hunters Lodge to take the Goffs Anglo-Irish Club Members Conditions Race.

The 11-times Irish champion produced Hunters Lodge, trained by Alan Hill at nearby Aston Rowant, to lead at the last, before forging clear to score by a length and three-quarters from Britain’s John Dawson on Quick Oats, with GB’s Evan David on Good Egg six lengths back in third.
With points awarded for the first four positions, it saw Ireland edge ahead 15-13.

O’Connor said: “It is nice for the Hill family to have a winner at their own course.

“He is an 11-year-old and he minds himself a little bit. Today he had a good day and I got the best out of him.”
Hill commented: “Derek has given Hunters Lodge a great ride. Having Derek on with a change of hands has fallen in his favour.

“We have retired him tonight. My daughter (Gaby) is going to go hunting and eventing on him.”

With Bryony Frost a late absentee from the British team and just six runners declared for the Bicester Office Park Anglo-Irish Ladies’ Open, Lalor stepped down for the Irish.

And it was her compatriot, Maxine O’Sullivan, who swept clear five from home on Cut The Corner to score by an easy 20 lengths from British duo Tabitha Worsley on Rossmore Lad and Gina Andrews aboard Otto The Great, who were split by a head for second.

The nine-year-old is trained by Martin Weston at Hindlip in Worcestershire, and O’Sullivan said: “He was brilliant. His name tells it all – Cut The Corner.

“He is sharp and cuts round the bends. I was very lucky. He flew round there.”

Owner Abs Banks, the 7-1 shot’s regular rider, added: “She rode him beautifully and got him jumping well.”

O’Sullivan’s success saw Ireland increase their lead to 33-29.

And the visitors clinched victory when Codd led home an Irish one-two-three on Ka Maresco for Fran Moller’s Sibford Ferris stables, near Hook Norton, in the Tattersalls Ireland Four, Five And Six-Year-Olds Maiden over two miles and five furlongs.

The dual Irish champion made much of the running on the 6-4 favourite to cross the line ten lengths clear of Barry O’Neill on Irish Legionnaire, with the O’Connor-ridden Big Time Frank third.

Codd said: “It’s nice to win an English point-to-point. We were joking inside which ones we would like to ride and he was obviously the one with form and that’s the luck of it.”

Owner Hugh Wilson missed the win as he was flying to north Canada to film a wildlife documentary, but his father, Guy, said of Codd: “He is a very good jockey, but all eight are good and I would not have minded any of them.”

The result gave Ireland an unassailable 58-32 lead, and they capped a dominant display with Lalor landing the six-runner Connolly’s Red Mills Anglo-Irish Intermediate Race over two miles and five furlongs on 14-1 outsider Harris Garden.

She sent the ten-year-old maiden into the lead at the fourth last and he went clear to complete a 314-1 double for Hill’s yard, with O’Sullivan ten lengths back in second on Blazing Tom and Andrews third aboard Knockedoutloaded.

Lalor said: “He couldn’t have done it any easier. The Hills were brilliant before and told me everything to do with him.”

Hill, who owns Harris Garden with his assistant, Hugh Jarvis, said: “Hugh is the proudest man in Great Britain tonight. He will walk ten foot tall tomorrow.”

The Irish men, sponsored by Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, beat their British counterparts 40-16 with O’Connor (17) the top points scorer, while their ladies triumphed 41-27, with O’Sullivan (20) leading the way.

And Hill added: “It has been a great day. We are very privileged that we got 15 top jockeys here. It is a bit of history for Kingston Blount.”

RESULT

Men – Great Britain 16pts (J Dawson 8, E David 5, W Biddick 3, A Edwards 0), Ireland 40 (D O’Connor 17, J Codd 12, B O’Neill 11, N McParlan 0).

Ladies – Great Britain 27 (T Worsley 11, G Andrews 10, C Hardwick 0, Non-Runner 6), Ireland 41 (M O’Sullivan 20, L Lalor 15, L O’Neill 6, S Larkin 0).

Overall – Great Britain 43, Ireland 81.

The two supporting races provided a double for 16-year-old James Bowen, which saw him equal the British record of 25 winners by a novice rider in a season held jointly by Rhys Flint and Nick Scholfield.

Bowen, who has only been riding since his birthday on March 12, had to survive an objection after Flying Eagle, trained by his brother, Mickey, at Haverfordwest, completed a four-timer with a four-lengths win over Pride Of Parish in a match for the opening Betfair Men’s Open.

Joe Hill, rider of the second, lodged a complaint that the winner had taken the wrong course in that Bowen had passed a red disc to his left by the winning post.
But the stewards allowed the placings to stand as they found that the disc was after the winning line.

Bowen completed his double with a terrific ride on Tempelpirate, who recorded an eighth course win in the closing Kingston Blount Racing Club Members Conditions Race for novice riders.
The teenager produced the 11-10 favourite to collar Brians Well at the last, and his mount stayed on well to score by three lengths.

Reflecting on matching Flint and Scholfield’s tally, Bowen, who plans to take out a conditional jockey’s licence after the season’s final fixture at Umberleigh, said: “If I do as good as them I’ll be very happy.”

Tempelpirate’s triumph was a timely tonic for Beedon trainer Tim Underwood, who was in the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading after being kicked by a pony, and suffering three broken ribs, a haematoma of the colon and a damaged spleen.

He underwent an operation, and was released on Saturday.

PREVIEW

The fourth of the five meetings held at Kingston Blount is the most eagerly awaited of all – the Bicester Office Park Anglo Irish Challenge. It takes place on the evening of Friday 26th May, with a first race time of 4.00pm. Four races see the cream of the British jockeys take on their Irish counterparts, and four riders who scored at this season’s Cheltenham Festival, including all three lady jockeys who took the races restricted to amateurs – the first time this has ever been done.

The full team line-ups are as follows:

Great Britain (men):              Will Biddick, Evan David, John Dawson, Alex Edwards

Great Britain (ladies):            Gina Andrews, Bryony Frost, Claire Hardwick, Tabitha Worsley

Ireland (men):                        Jamie Codd, Noel McParlan, Derek O’Connor, Barry O’Neill

Ireland (ladies):                      Liz Lalor, Shauna Larkin, Lisa O’Neill, Maxine O’Sullivan.

 

The four events that comprise the challenge – a Conditions Race and a Maiden for the men and an Intermediate and a Ladies Open for the female riders are supported by a Mens Open and a Novice Riders race.

This will be the fifth year the challenge has taken place, with Great Britain having won on the previous four occasions. Britain took the inaugural contest in 2013 at Tattersalls in County Meath, before successfully defending their crown at Fairyhouse the following year. A hat trick of wins was completed when the jockeys’ challenge came to these shores for the first time in 2015 at Chaddesley Corbett in Worcestershire. And Britain made it a four-timer at Inch, near Tallow, in County Cork, last year. This year, for the first time, the riders and horses will be drawn before each race. The points scoring system is: 1st 12pts, 2nd 8, 3rd 5, 4th 3. In the event of a non-runner, three points will be awarded. The team that accumulates the most points wins the challenge.

It promises to be a great occasion to showcase the sport of point-to-pointing to a national audience. TV presenters Alex Hammond and Victoria Pendleton – the latter also an Olympic cycling champion and point-to-point rider – will be hosting the event and making the draw, and there will be a party after racing with live music, a cash bar and food outlets.

Each contest has prize-money of £1,000 and the course has been watered for over a week so, with the recent rainfall, Clerk of the Course Stewart Nash told me on Monday, “We’re confident of providing good racing ground, are hoping that most of the entries run and are looking forward to competitive racing.” 58 entries have been received for the six races and organisers are seeking a minimum of eight runners for each of the four challenge races.

Title sponsors Bicester Office Park also give their name to the Ladies Open, for which ten have been entered. Form pick is Good Egg, who may be a veteran at 14 but who ran possibly his best race since coming to the UK when second in a Cheltenham Hunter Chase last time. Second best on rating’s is Tim Underwood’s Golden Crisp, a Peper Harow winner last time and in great form according to his ebullient owner-trainer, who told me earlier, “He worked brilliantly this morning – he’s now rated 100 and I think he’s OK. I’d love to have Gina (Andrews) riding him.”

James Henderson plans to run Otto The Great in this race with son and usual rider Freddie in the midst of his finals at Newcastle University. “He’s slightly lost his mojo,” admitted James. “He likes things to go his own way, doesn’t go on soft ground and they went too fast at Cheltenham. But he’s won an Open at Kingston Blount before, is a good jumper and might enjoy having less weight on his back.” Richard Bandey is two-handed, with the useful but lightly-raced Little Chip and Rossmore Lad, novice-title chasing Lily Pinchin has entered Allerton and Martin Weston’s Cut The Corner has been disappointing between the flags this year, but would be a danger on the best of his National Hunt form.

There are nine potential runners in the Goffs UK Conditions Race. These events are usually tightly contested and this looks a typical example, particularly if clear top-rated Good Egg – also entered here – runs in the Ladies Open. Next best on form is Nigel Padfield’s Quick Oats, a winner of a similar contest at the last meeting here. James Henderson relies on Thanks For Coming here, and expects his 11-year-old to improve on recent form, saying, “He hasn’t run much as Freddie hasn’t been around. He disappointed on the firm ground at Andoversford and needs it watered. He’s genuine and experienced and will look after his new jockey – I’ve got no preference as they’re all good.”

Chute Hall, Sucker Punch and The Happy Warrior are three potential long-distance travellers, while closer to home, Aston Rowant trainer Alan Hill has entered Hunters Lodge. “His owner-rider Gareth Henderson has kindly let me run the horse here,” Alan confirmed. “He’s in great form at home and definitely runs.”

The 11-entry Tattersalls Ireland Maiden Race is full of potential and includes the only two entries on the card from Ireland – Eugene O’Sullivan’s Crazy Game and Milano Citizen. The latter has placed form in points across the sea this year, while the former has yet to complete between the flags. Another who has yet to complete, but has shown promise, is Lynn Redman’s Summitwillhappen, a daughter of multiple winner Coolvawn Lady. The locally based handler told me earlier, “She definitely runs. She’s brilliantly bred and has been schooling, schooling and more schooling! I don’t mind who rides – whoever comes out of the hat!”

While half the field are unexposed, five have useful placed form in British points, chief among them being Fran Moller’s Ka Maresco, who would likely have won last time out at Mollington but for clouting the last. Axelle Wall’s Ask Connie should come on for a debut third at the same meeting, while Richard Bandey’s Irish Legionnaire is consistent and well regarded. Alan Hill is on home turf here and is obviously a big supporter of this meeting – he has entered two in the form of four-times placed Big Time Frank and the improving Breakdown Cover, both of whom are intended starters. “The owners of Big Time Frank want to run – he was going to go to Bratton Down last weekend, but it was too quick, so they’ve kept him for this,” said the trainer.

The Connollys Red Mills Intermediate Race has attracted 11 entries, of which seven are within ten points of top-rated Exclusive Rights. Her trainer, Pauline Harkin, has hedged her bets by entering three here and admitted, “We’re hoping that (usual rider) Claire Hardwick will be drawn to ride Exclusive Rights.” Tim Underwood is hoping for an improvement on Kicker King’s Peper Harow run, where he finished a disappointing fourth after two wins on the bounce. “He was left at the start and he’s got to be in the firing line, or he throws the towel in,” admitted Tim. “I think he’s better than (recent Whitfield winner) Ballyfore Cross.”

James Henderson will speak to trainer Chris Bealby before deciding whether to run Dream Mistress, and explained to me why she pulled up at Garthorpe last time. “She was in season and was being a right tart before the race,” he laughed. “She’s been placed, but hasn’t been finishing her races, and she’ll definitely look after whoever is riding her.” Nigel Padfield’s yard is in good form and his Knockedoutloaded has won twice this year and must be feared, while Jonathan Tudor’s Welsh raider Blazing Tom is another to consider.

The card opens with the Betfair Mens Open, which has ten entries, including popular West Country veteran Ned The Post and two multiple winners – Flying Eagle and Universal Soldier – from Mickey Bowen’s Pembrokeshire stable that has been having such a fantastic year. This could be racegoers’ last chance to see leading novice rider James Bowen ride in points before he turns professional.

However, the Welsh contingent won’t have things all their own way. Charlotte Marshall’s Conkies Lad has considerable ability (as well as considerable problems in the jumping department, having unseated on four of his last seven starts), while Chris Henn’s Legal Legend ran a blinder over four miles at Cheltenham last time, only fading to fifth on the run-in – this trip should suit him better. Alan Hill has a record second-to-none here and this is his preference for Horizontal Speed, a course winner at the last meeting. “He won by eight lengths here last time and (owner-rider) Gareth Henderson has a good record on the course, so this is the right race for him,” was the trainer’s verdict when I spoke to him.

The Kingston Blount Racing Club sponsor closing Novice Riders race and seven have been entered, including another from Mickey Bowen’s yard – Deadly Move, unbeaten in four starts between the flags this year. Laura Thomas’ Urban Storm is another to consider, along with Fred Hutsby’s Tempered Steel, while this race will probably be one of two runs over the Bank Holiday weekend for Tim Underwood’s marvelously consistent Tempelpirate – 2014’s leading horse and a winner of 16 of his 24 starts in Britain and placed in the other eight. “He was third at Bratton Down last weekend and will race in a tongue-tie,” confirmed his trainer, before admitting, “I don’t know who’ll ride!”

Kingston Blount is an undulating course, with a steep climb after the 5(13)th and a downhill run before the 6(14)th. It is very well cared for with watering available and the ground is rarely firm, even at later meetings. Car parking is good, with a downhill exit if wet. There is good viewing from the slope above the finish.

The course is located at Kingston Grove, Kingston Blount OX39 4SG, approximately eight miles NW of High Wycombe and well signposted off the B4009 towards Chinnor, leaving the M40 at J6. For safety reasons, we do not advise leaving the M40 at J5 as the descent down Kingston Hill is both narrow and steep. For the same reason, please do not try to park on Kingston Hill.

Admission is £10 per person, with under 18s going free, and pedestrian entry is £10. There is a Reserved Car Park, at a cost of £40 per car, subject to availability. We remind you that there is no longer any parking in the area over the road adjacent to the horsebox park.

The first race is at 4.00pm.

For more information, follow us on Twitter @KimblewickRaces or join us on Facebook at Kimblewick Races

CHELTENHAM HEROINE LISA OUT TO TURN THE TABLES

CHELTENHAM Festival-winning rider Lisa O’Neill believes it is Ireland’s turn to grab the glory in the Bicester Office Park Anglo-Irish Point-to-Point Challenge at Kingston Blount in Oxfordshire on Friday (May 26) (4pm).

O’Neill, who enjoyed her finest hour aboard Tiger Roll in the JT McNamara National Hunt Chase in March, will be joined by Shauna Larkin, Liz Lalor and Maxine O’Sullivan in Ireland’s ladies’ team as they seek to prevent Great Britain making it five straight wins in the jockeys’ competition.

The 30-year-old, from Trim in Co Meath, said: “Ireland has so many accomplished and promising riders it is an honour to be selected for such a challenge.

“I’m sure we all have the same view that it is about time we turned the tables and we are more than capable of doing that.

“It will be a challenge as we are competing on their turf and they have a very successful team, but we are confident.”

O’Neill’s only previous appearance in the challenge came at Chaddesley Corbett two years ago.

And she added: “It is always an advantage to be at home and I feel the GB team always have massive amounts of support with them.

“It will be great to be a part of a great day’s racing, meeting new people, riding new horses and experiencing the point-to-pointing in England.”

Larkin’s call-up is something of a fairytale after her four wins aboard Rosc Catha, a horse owned and trained by her family, made her one of this season’s leading riders.

The 23-year-old, from Eyrecourt in Co Galway, said: “There are some great lady riders out there and I am privileged to be selected.

“I am very excited to take part. I have never ridden outside of Ireland before, so this is all very new to me.

“I have had my most successful season to date, and it’s a great boost to my confidence going into the event.

“It would be great to help Ireland get one up on the scoreboard.”

Claire Hardwick will be making her third appearance in the challenge for Britain, and she is looking to help maintain her country’s 100 per cent record.

The 34-year-old, who is based at Adlestrop, near Moreton-in-Marsh, is joined in the British team by three-times champion Gina Andrews, Bryony Frost and newcomer Tabitha Worsley.

And Hardwick said: “I am looking forward to it again. It would be great to have a winner, but as long as the team wins that’s the main thing.

“We have won every year and there are some good girls in the team, so it should be good.”

Hardwick has plenty of experience of riding at Kingston Blount, and she is hoping that will work in her favour.

“It is a track where you can win and lose races by being tactical and how you ride it,” she added.

“I have had quite a few winners there. It is one of my favourite tracks.”

Worsley, from Copthorne in Sussex, is making her debut, and she believes knowledge of some of the horses could help the hosts.

“I think it could play to our advantage because as the home side if you have not ridden the horse before someone else in the team may have, so we may know a bit more about it,” she explained.

The 22-year-old Birmingham University student added: “I have not had very many rides there – three or four maybe.

“I like it as a track. Coming off the hill you need something that is well-balanced.

“I think if there is a big home crowd it should be a really good evening.

“Hopefully they will get behind the racing and it adds to the atmosphere.”

HOW THEY LINE-UP

 Great Britain – men: Will Biddick, John Dawson, Alex Edwards, Evan David; ladies: Gina Andrews, Bryony Frost, Claire Hardwick, Tabitha Worsley.

Ireland – men: Barry O’Neill, Jamie Codd, Derek O’Connor, Noel McParlan; ladies: Shauna Larkin, Lisa O’Neill, Liz Lalor, Maxine O’Sullivan.

BICESTER OFFICE PARK ANGLO-IRISH CHALLENGE RACE PROGRAMME

Friday, May 26, 2017

4.00 Betfair Men’s Open

4.35 Goffs Anglo-Irish Club Members Conditions Race for Gentlemen Riders

5.10 Bicester Office Park Anglo-Irish Ladies Open

5.45 Tattersalls Ireland Anglo-Irish Four, Five & Six-Year-Olds Maiden Race for Gentlemen Riders

6.20 Connolly’s Red Mills Anglo-Irish Intermediate Race for Lady Riders

7.05 The Kingston Blount Racing Club Members Conditions Race for Novice Riders

 

ANGLO-IRISH CHALLENGE BACKGROUND

This will be the fifth year the challenge has taken place with Great Britain having won on the previous four occasions.

Britain took the inaugural contest in 2013 at Tattersalls in County Meath, before successfully defending their crown at Fairyhouse the following year.

A hat-trick of wins was completed when the jockeys’ challenge came to these shores for the first time in 2015 at Chaddesley Corbett in Worcestershire.

And Britain made it a four-timer at Inch, near Tallow, in County Cork, last year.

The riders will compete in four races – two for men and two for women – twice the number of previous years.

As well as the four races in the Anglo-Irish Challenge there will be two supporting contests, with a 4pm start.

There will also be a party after racing with live music, a cash bar and food outlets.

With Kingston Blount also hosting the traditional Berks & Bucks And Staff College & RMAS Draghounds meeting on Sunday, May 28, it promises to be a busy weekend for the popular Oxfordshire track.

HOW THE ANGLO-IRISH CHALLENGE WORKS

The two teams consist of eight riders each – four men and four ladies. There are four races – two for men and two for ladies. The riders and horses will be drawn before each race. The points scoring system is: 1st 12pts, 2nd 8, 3rd 5, 4th 3. In the event of a non-runner three points will be awarded. The team which accumulates the most points wins the challenge.

KINGSTON BLOUNT POINT-TO-POINT RACECOURSE

Kingston Blount Racecourse was founded in 1971 and now stages four point-to-point meetings each season – with that figure increased to five this term with the Anglo-Irish Challenge. It is an undulating course, with a steep climb after the 5th and the 13th fences in three-mile races and a downhill run before the 6th and 14th fences. It is very well cared for with watering available and the ground is rarely firm, even at later meetings. Car parking is good, with a downhill exit if wet. There is good viewing from the slope above the finish.

The course is located at Kingston Grove, Kingston Blount OX39 4SG, approximately eight miles NW of High Wycombe and well signposted off the B4009 towards Chinnor, leaving the M40 at J6. For safety reasons, it’s advised not to leave the M40 at J5 as the descent down Kingston Hill is both narrow and steep. For the same reason, it’s also advised against parking on Kingston Hill.

Admission to all meetings this season at Kingston Blount is £10 per person – under-18s go free. Entry to the reserved car park is £40 per car, subject to availability. Pedestrian entry is also £10. There is no longer any parking in the area over the road adjacent to the horsebox park.

CONTACT DETAILS

For further information, please contact Kingston Blount Anglo-Irish Challenge media liaison officer Russell Smith 07866 953987 Email: jamessmith327@btinternet.com

IRISH STARS O’CONNOR AND CODD SET FOR KINGSTON BLOUNT

TOP amateur riders Derek O’Connor and Jamie Codd have been named in the Ireland team for the Bicester Office Park Anglo-Irish Point-to-Point Challenge at Kingston Blount in Oxfordshire on Friday, May 26.

Eleven-time champion O’Connor is the sport’s winning-most jockey in Ireland with more than 1,100 winners.

He has also struck three times at the Cheltenham Festival, most recently on Minella Rocco in the 2016 National Hunt Chase.

Codd, the reigning champion, has clocked up more than 820 point-to-point victories in his homeland.

He is a seven-time winner at the Festival, including a double this year aboard Cause Of Causes, on whom he went on to finish second on in the Randox Health Grand National, and Fayonagh.

They join Barry O’Neill, this season’s leading rider in Ireland, and Noel McParlan in the men’s team, with the side selected based on the top four places in the championship.

O’Neill is no stranger to success on British shores, having partnered the Warren Greatrex-trained Paint The Clouds to victory in the Stratford Champion Hunters’ Chase last May.

McParlan will be making his debut in the challenge, but has been one of the leading riders in the Emerald Isle for a number of years, and is on course to be crowned northern champion for a third time.

He has also impressed at Cheltenham, finishing second on Missed Approach in the National Hunt Chase last month.

CURRAGH 25-9-2016.
Jockey LISA O’NEILL.
Photo HEALY RACING.

The four-mile race was won by Lisa O’Neill on Tiger Roll, and she features in Ireland’s ladies’ team, having also won the Kerry National at Listowel in September aboard Wrath Of Titans.

The line-up is completed by Shauna Larkin, Liz Lalor and Maxine O’Sullivan.

CASTLETOWN GEOGHEGAN PTP 2-10-2016.
Jockey SHAUNA LARKIN.
Photo HEALY RACING.

Larkin, a newcomer to the challenge, leads the way in the lady riders’ table, thanks largely due to a very productive campaign aboard Rosc Catha, a horse owned and trained by her family.

Lalor is a five-time ladies’ champion, while O’Sullivan has captured the title twice.

Richard Pugh, of P2P.ie, said: “The Anglo-Irish Challenge has really become a very popular event on both sides of the Irish Sea in what has been a very short time since its inception.

“We have a very strong Irish team heading over to Kingston Blount this year, and it is great that it is another new venue for the event to visit.”

Meeting chairman Rodney Mann commented: “It is really good to see the top point-to-point amateurs in Ireland coming over and it will be a pleasure to welcome them to Kingston Blount.

“We expect to see some very competitive racing.”

The Great Britain team is due to be named early next month, with the top three men and ladies in the national standings earning selection plus one wildcard for each gender, with the aim of providing an opportunity for riders from all over the country.

After the Easter meetings, Will Biddick is clear at the top of the men’s table with 29 winners followed by Evan David (20), Alex Edwards (19), John Dawson (18), Jack Andrews (17) and Darren Edwards (16).

Gina Andrews is the leading lady on 16 winners, with Bryony Frost (9), Claire Hardwick (8), Leanda Tickle (7) and Tabitha Worsley (6) heading the chasing pack.

ANGLO-IRISH CHALLENGE RACE PROGRAMME
Friday, May 26, 2017

4.00 Men’s Open (sponsored by Betfair)
4.35 Anglo-Irish Club Members Conditions Race for Gentlemen Riders (sponsored by Goffs UK)
5.10 Anglo-Irish Ladies Open (sponsored by Bicester Office Park)
5.45 Anglo-Irish Four, Five & Six-Year-Olds Maiden Race for Gentlemen Riders (sponsored by Tattersalls Ireland)
6.20 Anglo-Irish Intermediate Race for Lady Riders (sponsored by Connolly’s Red Mills)
7.05 The Kingston Blount Racing Club Members Conditions Race for Novice Riders

ANGLO-IRISH CHALLENGE BACKGROUND

This will be the fifth year the challenge has taken place with Great Britain having won on the previous four occasions.
Britain took the inaugural contest in 2013 at Ratoath in County Meath, before successfully defending their crown at Fairyhouse the following year.
A hat-trick of wins was completed when the jockeys’ challenge came to these shores for the first time in 2015 at Chaddesley Corbett in Worcestershire.
And Britain made it a four-timer at Inch, near Tallow, in County Cork, last year.
The riders will compete in four races – two for men and two for women – twice the number of previous years.
As well as the four races in the Anglo-Irish Challenge there will be two supporting contests, with a 4pm start.
With Kingston Blount also hosting the traditional Berks & Bucks And Staff College & RMAS Draghounds meeting on Sunday, May 28, it promises to be a busy weekend for the popular Oxfordshire track.

KINGSTON BLOUNT POINT-TO-POINT RACECOURSE

Kingston Blount Racecourse was founded in 1971 and now stages four point-to-point meetings each season – with that figure increased to five this term with the Anglo-Irish Challenge. It is an undulating course, with a steep climb after the 5th and the 13th fences in three-mile races and a downhill run before the 6th and 14th fences. It is very well cared for with watering available and the ground is rarely firm, even at later meetings. Car parking is good, with a downhill exit if wet. There is good viewing from the slope above the finish.

The course is located at Kingston Grove, Kingston Blount OX39 4SG, approximately eight miles NW of High Wycombe and well signposted off the B4009 towards Chinnor, leaving the M40 at J6. For safety reasons, we do not advise leaving the M40 at J5 as the descent down Kingston Hill is both narrow and steep. For the same reason, please do not try to park on Kingston Hill.

 

CONTACT DETAILS

For further information, please contact Kingston Blount Anglo-Irish Challenge media liaison officer Russell Smith 07866 953987 Email: jamessmith327@btinternet.com

2017 ANGLO-IRISH CHALLENGE ANNOUNCED

ORGANISERS of the 2017 Anglo-Irish International Point-to-Point Challenge are excited to be staging the event at Kingston Blount in Oxfordshire.

Riders from Great Britain will be looking to extend their unbeaten record in the team competition, which is now in its fifth year, over their counterparts from the Emerald Isle on Friday, May 26. With four men and four women from each country going head to head in four races – double the number of contests in previous years – the event at the undulating left-handed track promises to be even bigger and better.

Meeting chairman Rodney Mann said: “We are excited by the whole idea of it. “I think it adds another dimension to point-to-point racing, and anything we can do to promote the sport and Kingston Blount is all for the better. The personnel involved will be a bit different than normal and I think that in itself makes it more interesting. Kingston Blount will provide an interesting test of jockeyship with riders and their horses having to go up and down the hill, and two sharp bends near the end.”

Great Britain’s team will consist of the leading three men and women in the national standings on May 1, plus one wildcard selection for each gender aimed at providing an opportunity for riders from all over the country. In past years those who have taken part include leading amateur riders Will Biddick and Gina Andrews for Britain, and Derek O’Connor and Jamie Codd for Ireland.

To add extra spice to the event it will be open for the first time to horses with an Irish hunters’ certificate. “We hope that we will attract a number of people over from Ireland with their horses, so it will not just be a question of jockeys coming over,” added Mann.

Britain won the inaugural contest in 2013 at Tattersalls in County Meath, before successfully defending their crown at neighbouring Fairyhouse the following year. A hat-trick of wins was completed when the jockeys’ challenge came to these shores for the first time in 2015 at Chaddesley Corbett in Worcestershire and Britain made it a four-timer at Inch, near Tallow, in County Cork, last year.

As well as the four races in the Anglo-Irish Challenge there will be two supporting contests, with a 4pm start.

With Kingston Blount also hosting the traditional Berks & Bucks and Sandhurst Draghounds meeting on Sunday, May 28, it promises to be a busy weekend for the popular Oxfordshire track.

For further information, please contact: Russell Smith, Kingston Blount Anglo-Irish Challenge media liaison officer, 07866 953987 Email: jamessmith327@btinternet.com