Owners and trainers of maiden point-to-point fillies and mares can now aim their horses at a revamped series and a valuable final, thanks to sponsorship by The Jockey Club.
A long-standing feature of Britain’s point-to-point season, The Jockey Club Mares’ Maiden Series will now conclude with a £700 decider at the Berkeley Hunt’s fixture at Woodford in Gloucestershire on Saturday, April 23. The venue is handily placed just a few minutes from the M5 motorway.
Philip Hall, The Jockey Club's representative on the Point-to-Point Authority Board, says: "We are delighted to renew our long standing sponsorship of the mares' series, which is part of the broader partnership Jockey Club Racecourses enjoys with the sport of point-to-pointing.
"There is no doubting the importance of the role pointing plays in the broader industry, and Jockey Club Racecourses is delighted to help support the sport. This year, with the help of the PPA, we have added a series finale to create a crescendo for the whole season. Additionally, the first three across the line in this final will be eligible for an additional bonus to optimise the competitiveness of the new finale.
"Along with co-sponsoring the Veterans' series with the Retraining of Racehorses [ROR], we are delighted to further our support."
Under the new-look format, any mare who finishes in the first four in one of The Jockey Club’s 16 qualifying races – held at venues around Britain – will be eligible for the final, as will fillies and mares who win any other maiden race.
In addition, The Jockey Club is again offering a double-prize money bonus linked to its 15 licensed racecourses which stage Flat and Jump racing, but it is extending the offer. In the past only the winner of the points-based series was eligible for the bonus on her first run at a Jockey Club racecourse.
Now the first three finishers in the final are eligible on their first, second or third run at any such racecourse.
The winning filly or mare will double any prize money she earns (including place money) at a Jockey Club racecourse on her first, second or third run, up to a maximum of £10,000. The second and third filly or mare in the final can double their prize money up to a maximum of £5,000 on their first, second or third runs.
Dean Summersby, who trains on the Devon/Cornwall border, won The Jockey Club Mares’ Maiden Series with Cloudy Music in the 2018/19 season. He says: "We expect to have 14 pointers in training this season, including two maiden mares. Ask The Lady, who was second over hurdles on her latest start, and who we then bought at Doncaster sales, would be the type who could be a possible runner in The Jockey Club final if we can get her qualified. We don’t have early qualifying races in this area, but the fact she could win any other maiden race and be eligible for the final is a good thing."
Dean Summersby - 'Winning any maiden race to qualify for the final is a good thing'
Warwickshire-based Tom Ellis, Britain’s champion trainer, says: "If we have a suitable horse this is definitely something we would support. We have a number of maiden mares in the yard, including Misstree Song, who is seven and has been placed over hurdles. If she qualified for the final and finished in the first three she could double her prize money if she went back over hurdles.
Tom Ellis - 'It's definitely something we would support'
"I've ridden winners at Woodford. It's a flat, fair course and they do a good job of watering."
To learn more about The Jockey Club, click here: www.thejockeyclub.co.uk