29 October 2012 Ready, Steady, Blog!
Get ready to meet the first of our Point-to-Point bloggers, as we follow riders and trainers throughout the season to see what goes on behind the scenes and between meetings. May we first of all introduce...
Kayley Jones! Kayley, 26, is based in South Molton, Devon, and recently took over the training of all Point-to-Pointers previously in the care of Richard Woollacott after the well-known handler moved into the professional game. Kayley has enjoyed many seasons in the saddle herself, notching up a first victory in March 2011 aboard Kilrogan, having also sent out several winners as a trainer both before and after. We quizzed Kayley to find out a little bit more about her...
How did you get involved in Point-to-Pointing?
I started riding out Point-to-Pointers for a local trainer when I was 15, and a few trips to the races later I was hooked!
Who is your favourite racehorse of all time (any code) and why?
Not a very original choice, but Kauto Star. He's a beautiful specimen of a racehorse and every person in racing dreams about being involved with a horse of his calibre. I love the fact that even non-racing people know his name, he's a true racing celebrity!
Who is the best horse you have ridden/trained?
Solo Gent. He was given to me as a schoolmaster for my first season after being an 11-time winner under Rules, and he safely escorted me around the country! I didn't realise it at the time but he had plenty of ability even at 14. He was being placed in competitive Open and Novice Riders' races even though I trained him myself at home, rode him about three or four days a week and never let him get out of a trot because he was too keen! Neither of us were fit, and my knowledge of race riding was even worse than it is now and still he never let me down. I cringe when I look back at how little I knew but would give my back teeth to find another as tough, horses like him are gold dust.
If you could ride/train any horse, who would it be?
Frankel! I think he'd still be as awesome over three miles and 18 fences as he is on the flat! In a more realistic world, Whizzaar has been a real yard star for a long time and he won for me last season after I took over the training; I'm really excited about having him back this season as he's such a super horse.
Favourite Point-to-Point course?
Black Forest Lodge for several reasons; I had my first ride there, I love the atmosphere it brings when the season kicks off and we always have plenty of runners. As the season gets going and the weather gets better Upcott Cross is a lovely, fair track which sees plenty of competitive racing and is well run by the Heard family.
Obvious choice- Richard Woollacott (I'll be in trouble otherwise!). No, in all seriousness Richard is a great help to me and has taught me so much about the game. His achievements within the sport are admirable and what he can do, both as a trainer and a jockey, with even the most awkward and tricky of horses, is pure class.
What is your idea of a great night out/in?
Night out - meal with friends followed by a few cheeky cocktails and a dance. Night in - Indian takeaway, roaring log fire and a film with Rich.
X-Factor or Strictly?
X Factor every time!
Kayley's first blog will be available on pointopoint.co.uk soon; other than her obvious bad taste in television, we can't wait to hear more about the goings-on from South Molton as the season approaches.