King one ahead in race for amateur crown on final day at Stratford
The race to be crowned champion male amateur rider will go down to the wire at the final meeting of the season at Stratford on Friday evening with James King leading Sam Davies-Thomas by one.
King and Davies-Thomas, who finished second on his sole mount at Bangor on Thursday, both have three mounts at the feature hunter chase meeting at the Warwickshire track.
King partners the David Rees-trained Gone Platinum (5.30), runner-up on his last six starts, Kayley Woollacott's Jepeck (6.40) and Sherree Lean's Askphilmor (9.00), while Davies-Thomas rides the Amber Mathias-trained Robin Des People (5.30), Decade Player (6.05) for Kelly Morgan and David Kemp's Master Workman (7.50).
King, 21, said: “I’ll just approach it as if it’s a normal day, try my best as always and hope luck is on my side. I look to have three live chances so hopefully I can ride a winner or two to get me over the line.
“It would be a great achievement if I were to win. Harry Bannister and David Noonan have both been champion amateur in recent years so it’s produced a good line of young, promising riders and it’s a very good stepping stone in your career.”
One championship all sewn up is that of the amateur lady riders with Page Fuller holding an unassailable three-winner lead over Emma Todd.
Fuller notched 11 winners during the campaign and intends to ride under both codes during the summer.
Fuller, 21, said: “At the start of the season we knew it wasn’t an unrealistic target to be aiming for the title but when I broke my ankle in August, which ruled me out for four months, I thought it was going to be so tough. I still can’t believe how well it’s gone – it’s more than I could ever have dreamed of.
“Everyone close to me has been trying to avoid mentioning when Emma [Todd] has had a ride in the last month or so. I've been counting down the days.”
Fuller, who is coached by David Crosse, has decided to stay as an amateur for next season in the hope of securing some festival rides, although hasn’t ruled out turning conditional in the future.
She said: “I’ve thought long and hard about it but there are lots of things to be done as an amateur as well. It might be in a year or two that I decide to go down the conditional route but at least I’ve got time on my side.”