by Alison Morris

The Countryside Race Day ended in a light hearted note with a Charity race for “Non Jockeys” riding  qualified Point to Pointers who had all been loaned for the day by generous owners. The race was over a mile and a half with all obstacles omitted! Despite the fun nature of the event it was taken seriously by all concerned, and attracted some hefty betting. Jockeys included Tudor Harries who’s comeback, according to the race card, rivalled Piggott’s; Jan Mathias, a mother of two who had never ridden in a race before but who is from a family of successful point to point trainers; Steve Hughes, a former PtP rider who had lost plenty of weight for the race; and Keith Pearce successful permit holder who was“ under intense pressure to hold up the standards set by his daughters and their husbands”. The Countryside Alliance’s Director In Wales Adrian Simpson was also having a crack, but had to hand his mobile in at the start. 

The most amusing aspect of it all was the sight of the regular pilots, scurrying around carrying tack and even washing horses down afterwards; now they know what it feels like for the rest of us every weekend. 

Debbie Hamer, whose husband Paul had provided one of his charges in Books Way , commented that she had never seen so many white faces before a race and Keith Pearce was reported to have been “To scared to speak” all afternoon. The battle was eventually won by Mr Pearce himself, with his own Ile Distinct, one which you could have picked from the form book anyway, had he not been potentially handicapped by his jockey! Minor honours went to Oo Ee Be (who liked the bends at Chepstow), Books Way and Tragic Belle. All winning owners were presented with Champagne and there was much celebrating in the Countryside Alliance suite afterwards.

This was such a popular event that many people have expressed an interest in having a go themselves, so hopefully it will be a regular feature on the Countryside card…may even have a go myself!!!