Double Northern Area champion Amie Waugh takes her first ride as a professional jockey on the Flat at Haydock today.
Waugh, 31, goes in at the deep end against reigning champion jockey Oisin Murphy and ace couple Tom Marquand and Hollie Doyle in the Bet At RacingTV.com Handicap (2.55) in which she rides Sound Of Iona for trainer Jim Goldie.
It will be an experience some way removed from riding at tracks like Hexham, Tranwell and Friars Haugh, where Waugh has carved out a reputation as one of pointing’s leading riders. She took the Northern women riders’ title in 2018 and 2019, and would probably have won it for the past two seasons but for Covid’s intervention which meant there has been no official championship.
She also enjoyed a memorable run on Winged Crusader (the pair pictured above) in the 2018/19 season when they landed eight wins and he gained the national Connolly’s RED MILLS champion horse award.
While heading to Haydock she said: “In the past I’ve been so involved in pointing and jump racing that I didn’t really consider anything else, but then Jim Goldie offered me support and I decided it was my last chance to give professional racing a go.”
Of today’s opposition, she said: “There’s nothing like an easy introduction, but you’ve just got to step in and get on with it.”
Amie Waugh, who takes on some of Flat racing's top names on her professional debut
At 13 Winged Crusader has been retired from pointing and loaned to a friend of Waugh’s to go hunting. Of her time on the point-to-point circuit she said: “It’s the grass roots of racing and certainly where we started. My parents rode in points as did my sister Stephanie. My dad might have a horse or two to go pointing next season and we will remain involved in one way or another.”
Waugh may be exiting the sport, but on the plus side for fans of pointing in the Northern Area, Joanna Walton, who has been based in Ireland for a number of seasons and had more than 50 rides in bumpers, is returning to Britain and a position with Sandy Forster and Clive Storey.
*Waugh and Sound Of Iona were 7/1 winners at Haydock on Friday