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Biddick discounts thoughts of home advantage for Britain

Biddick discounts thoughts of home advantage for Britain

GREAT Britain's Will Biddick believes riding on home turf will count for nothing in the Bicester Office Park Anglo-Irish Point-to-Point Challenge at Kingston Blount in Oxfordshire on Friday, May 26 (4pm).

The five-time national champion, who is based near Ditcheat in Somerset, will line up alongside Alex Edwards, John Dawson and Evan David in Britain's men's team as the hosts bid to extend their four-year unbeaten record in the annual jockeys' competition.

Ireland are sending over a powerful team as they seek to break their duck with pointing greats Derek O'Connor and Jamie Codd joined by Barry O'Neill and Noel McParlan in the men's line-up.

And Biddick, who is on course for a sixth successive title, feels all the riders are more than capable of delivering the goods if they have the right ammunition.

"It makes no difference," the 30-year-old said of the event being in this country. "It is the luck of the draw. Who gets the best horse wins unless someone falls off.

"The riders are all good enough. Everyone has a different style and some look better than others, but if you are on the best horse and you put it in the right position it is going to win.

"It will be good fun. It's not just the racing, it's the whole day and the evening. It's the chance to put a bit of a show on."

Biddick, who has taken part in three of the four previous challenges, posting two wins, and Edwards have only had a handful of rides between them at Kingston Blount, while newcomers Dawson and David have never been there before.

Edwards, who stands second in the championship, was part of the British team which won the first challenge at Tattersalls in 2013, and he is looking for the same outcome.

"I hope I end up on a horse that is okay with a little chance and see if I can have a go, but it is all luck of the draw and these Irish boys are good riders," said the 27-year-old from Cressage in Shropshire.

"It is good to be able to take them on."

Dawson, who is third in the table, is looking forward to testing himself against the sport's elite.

"I was hoping I could be in with a shout for a place in the team, so when I got asked I was obviously chuffed," said the 27-year-old, who is based at Great Ayton in north Yorkshire.

"For myself it is to be able to ride with such riders that are coming over from Ireland - the likes of O'Connor and Codd - and to measure your own ability against the best from either side of the Irish Sea.

"If I have a good result for the GB team that would be nice, and also for us to end up on the right end of the result."

David, from Barry in south Wales, earned Great Britain's wildcard selection as the fourth-placed rider in the standings after more than doubling his previous best tally thanks to a successful association with Suffolk trainer Andrew Pennock.

"I was shocked really," said the 24-year-old of his call-up. "I had such a bad season last year, breaking a few bones and having two operations, that I didn't think I would have the season I have had this time.

"I have not ridden on the track, so I don't know it as such. I am in the same boat as the Irish riders.

"I can't wait. I think it will be a brilliant day and a brilliant evening."



Great Britain – men: Will Biddick, Alex Edwards, John Dawson, Evan David; ladies: Gina Andrews, Bryony Frost, Claire Hardwick, Tabitha Worsley.

Ireland – men: Barry O'Neill, Jamie Codd, Derek O'Connor, Noel McParlan; ladies: Shauna Larkin, Lisa O'Neill, Liz Lalor, Maxine O'Sullivan.



Friday, May 26, 2017

4.00 Betfair Men's Open

4.35 Goffs UK Anglo-Irish Club Members Conditions Race for Gentlemen Riders

5.10 Bicester Office Park Anglo-Irish Ladies Open

5.45 Tattersalls Ireland Anglo-Irish Four, Five & Six-Year-Olds Maiden Race for Gentlemen Riders

6.20 Connolly's Red Mills Anglo-Irish Intermediate Race for Lady Riders

7.05 The Kingston Blount Racing Club Members Conditions Race for Novice Riders



This will be the fifth year the challenge has taken place with Great Britain having won on the previous four occasions.

Britain took the inaugural contest in 2013 at Tattersalls in County Meath, before successfully defending their crown at Fairyhouse the following year.

A hat-trick of wins was completed when the jockeys' challenge came to these shores for the first time in 2015 at Chaddesley Corbett in Worcestershire.

And Britain made it a four-timer at Inch, near Tallow, in County Cork, last year.

The riders will compete in four races - two for men and two for women - twice the number of previous years.

As well as the four races in the Anglo-Irish Challenge there will be two supporting contests, with a 4pm start.

There will also be a party after racing with live music, a cash bar and food outlets.

With Kingston Blount also hosting the traditional Berks & Bucks And Staff College & RMAS Draghounds meeting on Sunday, May 28, it promises to be a busy weekend for the popular Oxfordshire track.



The two teams consist of eight riders each - four men and four ladies. There are four races - two for men and two for ladies. The riders and horses will be drawn before each race. The points scoring system is: 1st 12pts, 2nd 8, 3rd 5, 4th 3. In the event of a non-runner three points will be awarded. The team which accumulates the most points wins the challenge.



Kingston Blount Racecourse was founded in 1971 and now stages four point-to-point meetings each season - with that figure increased to five this term with the Anglo-Irish Challenge. It is an undulating course, with a steep climb after the 5th and the 13th fences in three-mile races and a downhill run before the 6th and 14th fences. It is very well cared for with watering available and the ground is rarely firm, even at later meetings. Car parking is good, with a downhill exit if wet. There is good viewing from the slope above the finish.

The course is located at Kingston Grove, Kingston Blount OX39 4SG, approximately eight miles NW of High Wycombe and well signposted off the B4009 towards Chinnor, leaving the M40 at J6. For safety reasons, it's advised not to leave the M40 at J5 as the descent down Kingston Hill is both narrow and steep. For the same reason, it's also advised against parking on Kingston Hill.

Admission to all meetings this season at Kingston Blount is £10 per person – under-18s go free. Entry to the reserved car park is £40 per car, subject to availability. Pedestrian entry is also £10. There is no longer any parking in the area over the road adjacent to the horsebox park.




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