Former Yorkshire champion Emma Todd will be retaining a close interest in point-to-pointing after deciding to hang up her racing saddle.
She says: “Will [Milburn, her boyfriend] is still riding in point-to-points, we have a three-year-old store horse by Ocovango [bought at the recent Goffs UK Summer Sale] that we are doing together and hope to run in the spring, and we’re both on the committee for a new point-to-point which is being planned for Charm Park next season.”
To be called the Yorkshire Jockeys’ Club Point-to-Point, the fixture will be held on Easter Monday, April 5, and replaces one formerly staged by the Staintondale Hunt. Todd says: “We’ve got a young committee involving Will Easterby, Lottie Crane, Lucy Ireland, Rory Bevin and Amy Collier, plus myself and Will.
“We’ve had a couple of meetings and hopefully have the races planned out and now we’ve got to work on sponsorship and advertising. It will be trial and error for the first fixture, but if we get views from people we can work on those for the following season.”
Peter Wright, chief executive of the Point-to-Point Authority, says of the new meeting: “Putting together a completely new and young committee is a great effort by the team behind the Yorkshire Jockeys’ meeting. The schedule of races they have produced is most inventive and they deserve every success.”
Todd (pictured above) works as a pupil assistant at the yard of licensed trainer Tim Easterby, where Bevin is assistant trainer. She says: “I started working for Tim the day before lockdown came in, so it was an interesting start, but I’m enjoying the job. Two years ago I was off for four months after shoulder surgery and during that time completed the training modules. Working with pre-trainers, breakers and young horses and running a few would be nice.”
Todd was Yorkshire women’s champion in the 2014/15 season having been novice champion in the area the previous year. She says the highlight of her riding career was riding Shimla Dawn in last year’s Aintree Foxhunters’ Chase, and adds: “I had known the horse a long time from when he was in training at Mark Walford’s and I was working there. Then he was sold to go pointing with Christine Drury and I got to ride him in races.
“We struck up a really good bond and to ride him around Aintree was amazing. We pulled up two out, but since we had jumped every fence once I was able to claim I had completed the course – well, in my eyes at least. I also won two point-to-points on Shimla and a hunters’ chase at Musselburgh so I would have to say he was my favourite horse.”
Todd’s first season of riding in point-to-points was in 2009 when three of her first four rides were in the Welsh Borders Area for trainer and rider Hannah Lewis. “The following season I rode a maiden, which was not ideal,” says Todd, “and then I got an old horse called Madison De Vonnas, who I used to ride out in my lunchtime while working for Mark. I had lots of places on him and was becoming desperate to get there in front so it was a special moment when we won a hunt race [at Easingwold in April 2012]. Perhaps if I had won a race on my first or second ride it wouldn’t have meant so much.
“Originally I planned to ride last season and then through the summer and take a view from there, but with lockdown it just seemed the right time to pack up race riding. I didn’t hit any big landmarks, but I got a lot of personal achievement out of the sport. There’s nothing like the thrill of riding in races.”