Jacqueline and Claire triumph at a thrilling Cheltenham climax to the AGA season of point-to-points

I spent this evening at the AGA Ladies’ Point-to-Point Championship Final at Cheltenham and it proved the best I’ve had in ages.

It was wonderful to catch up with friends old and new and, thankfully, the weather behaved impeccably and the rain stayed away.

And to complete a great evening we were treated to a final with an exciting, nail-biting finish in which Jacqueline Coward on Amicelli beat the Jane Williams-ridden Billyvoddan by just a neck to become the 2012 AGA Ladies’ Open Point-to-Point champion.

Jubilant overall 2012 champion Jacqueline Coward said: “It feels absolutely incredible – I can’t believe it! This is the highlight of the year. AGA has changed the face of pointing for girls and it has been amazing.”

But riders were also racing to win an AGA Total Control cooker and, after a season of accumulating points, Jane Williams’ runner-up position in the final meant she was on 58. But back in third was Claire Hart on Lady Myfanwy and that was enough to give her the same total.

So, after a wonderful season’s racing, the two were tied, but Claire came out the overall winner of the AGA Total Control Lady Riders’ Championship and landed the fabulous prize by virtue of having ridden more winners in the qualifying races.

Claire Hart, too, was elated. She said: “I feel amazing – this is the best thing I have ever won. I’ve had a great season and us girls are really going to miss the AGA boys!”

I also caught up with point-to-point journalist Carl Evans, who described the outcome as thrilling. He said: “You couldn’t make it up. To have such a close finish to the AGA final, while the race within a race for the AGA Total Control cooker was going on behind would be difficult to invent.”

So, there you have it – thrills all round and now I’m off to enjoy the summer pudding…

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