This years race was again a great success. All 14 sideways jockeys got round the 2 mile course over a variety of hedges and timber fences safely. There was an exciting finish as Lizzie Harris riding pointer Smiths Lawn got chased home by Tabby Prest (from Monmouthshire) riding Dutch. Hot on their tails was Natacha Lazareff from France riding Gladiator (a hireling from Karen Bamford). Fourth and Fifth place was battled out between myself (riding Tick Tock) and Sarah Jane Townend riding pointer Southern Classic from The Middleton Hunt.
Major Neil Cross from The Royal Artillery and Hon Sec Becca Holland headed up the stewards – a crew of 10, largely ex-military and ensured the day ran as smoothly as Rolls Royce. Peter Collins, Quorn Huntsman kindly helped prep the course which was largely created by Captain John Rawdon Mogg of The Household Cavalry.
Despite the forecast we were blessed with a sunny early spring day and a good crowd of spectators flocked to Ingarsby Old Hall to watch the only sidesaddle race in the world. They were kept amused by my good friend Ed Seyfried in the commentary box and refreshed by Will Seth –Smith’s ‘Xero Vodka’ Bloody Mary bar. One guest remarked “My mother said it reminded her of some of the small race meetings she used to go to in Ireland, very intimate and such friendly people.”
Brian Henton our host, fresh off the plane from Barbados welcomed everyone and presented the prizes, alongside the glamorous Lady Sitwell. Prizes were kindly donated by Patey Hats (1st prize- Lizzie Harris), Lock and Co, (2nd Prize, Tabby Prest) and Best turnout (The Hunting Stock Market)which went to Aoife Byrne from Ireland. Horace Batten donated a very smart boot pull, which went to Kate Middleton for ‘conspicuous gallantry’.
The prizegiving was followed by a champagne fuelled party in The Old Hall, kindly sponsored by AGL – International and Smith & Williamson Investments.
Great fun was had by all and no one left until the last drop had been drunk.
The day attracted a large amount of press. The next day it appeared over most of page 4 of The Daily Telegraph. Three days later Horse and Hound reported it and Leicester Mercury gave it a double page spread. (Photographs by Nico Morgan). The Field Magazine, Tatler and BBC 2 also covered the event which will appear shortly .