JACQUELINE COWARD begins her campaign for another Yorkshire Ladies’ Point-to-Point title this weekend but faces stiff competition – not least from her own family.
The Scackleton rider starts her defence on home ground at the Yorkshire Area Point-to-Point Club meeting at Sheriff Hutton on Sunday, which is hosted on her grandfather Mick Easterby’s farm.
Her mount, Amicelli, shows no signs of stopping at the age of 14 and the pair, who won the AGA final at Cheltenham last season, will go again in the Ladies’ Open.
Competition will be stiff, with runners coming from across the country, and Coward will be up against her cousin, Joanna Mason, who rides new recruit Green Du Ciel.
The Masons are triple-handed with Blanding’s Castle and Chip N Pin also among the contenders.
They are just a few of the 96 entries which have been received for the popular meeting across seven races.
Following two pony races, the first of which starts at 11.15am, the action gets under way at noon in a race for horses who have not won under the rules of racing.
Easterby’s son, David, a prominent point-to-point trainer, will be hoping to start the day in fine fashion with Sous Mix, who was second on the New House Farm course last year.
He will be looking for Classinaglass, ridden by Tom Bannister, to give him a double in the Men’s Open.
Sheriff Hutton trainer Liz Clark has Dead Ringa entered among 14 in the Restricted race and Emma Todd takes over the reins from the retired Mark Walford.
She said: “He has been working and schooling really well at home and I am looking forward to making my seasonal debut on him.
“I have also done a lot of running to get myself fit and as prepared for the season as I can.”
The Club Members race, for novice riders who have not ridden more than three winners before the start of the season, sees Yorkshire club secretary Christine Drury saddle Drom, who is making his point-to-point debut.
Mason will be looking to get on the scoresheet with Tippering, trained by her mother, Sue. She said: “He will be at an advantage because he has experience of running on a racecourse and I am looking forward to getting him on the course.”
Admission to the meeting is £10 per person and racecards are £3 each. The postcode for satellite navigation is YO60 7TN and all proceeds will be donated to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
Organisers are hoping to exceed last year’s donation of £12,000.