Woollacott poised to lift national title

Richard Woollacott poised to lift first ever national title at Umberleigh

Richard Woollacott poised to lift first ever national title at Umberleigh on Saturday

Lucy Johnson

RICHARD Woollacott is on the verge of winning his first ever national point-to-point championship having rattled up 39 winners this season. But the leading amateur from South Molton will be all out to gain valuable extra wins at Umberleigh on Saturday, the grand finale of the point-to-point season, with John Mathias and Jake Greenhall hot on heels in the championship chase.

The latter, who has 35 wins under his belt, has several rides in prospect, with David Easterby set to travel half a dozen or more horses to the course while Richard Barber could also saddle Offarel D'Airy for the Greenhall family. Easterby's entries include Outback Bob in the maiden and multiple winners Amicelli, Gunner Jack, Nippy Des Mottes and Noble Ben who could all go in the men's open.

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John Mathias, who has 37 wins, also has several rides in prospect. Woollacott said: "It's going to go right to the last day of the season which makes it more exciting. Hopefully I have a choice of rides in the confined, restricted and open races. It would be nice to finally win the championship and I've been extremely lucky this season. I've always been of the mind that my owners can have who they would like to ride their horses and I've been lucky to ride most of them."

Polly Gundry has already secured the ladies' championship and she has been supporting Woollacott in his bid for the championship to ensure it's a full house for Devon-based jockeys. "I've ridden seven horses for Polly and they've all either been placed first or second," said 33-year-old Woollacott who has won the country's leading trainer title with 34 winners.

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Also in the race for national honours is Joe Tickle who trails Tom Cannon by just one win in the national novice title. Lucy and Emma Pugsley's Fully Loaded heads the leading horse title with Come What Augustus a win behind. Woollacott has entered him in the members' race.

The meeting, where the hunt race kicks off the day at 2pm, will also host the final of the Devon and Cornwall and Wessex area pony racing series which will take place after the last race.

A huge array of tradestands as well as bookies, children's entertainment, catering and a licensed bar mean the final jamboree is sure to be popular.

The course is situated at Chapelton Barton near Umberleigh, EX37 9EB. Entance is �20 per car, �10 per car with a single occupant.


AGE: 33

Born: Barnstaple

Family: Father Dennis, mother Carol, sister Marie

Occupation: Trainer, farming with father1st ride: Great Trethew aged 21 on Miss Pernickity who finished 4th

1st winner: Three years later at Hockworthy on Nearly Alright in a maiden race

Most memorable winner: My first ever ride under Rules on Buzz'O The Crowd who won at Taunton in 1999.

Worst injury: This season in the Foxhunters' at Aintree when I damaged ligaments in my knee and then rode pointing days later and broke my arm at Cothelstone two weeks later.

Milestones: I rode my 200th winner on Karinga Coin at Stafford Cross (Cotley) this season.

Favourite ever horse: I have had a lot of favourite horses but Whizaar is top of the list. He's a very difficult horse to train but he's the best we've ever had.

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