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Avon Vale stalwart Pat Awdry passes away

The Point-to-Point community was saddened to learn of the death of Pat Awdry on June 26 at his home near Trowbridge. A great supporter of point-to-point racing over more than 50 years, first of all as a rider and latterly as an owner with the late John Dufosee, and more recently with Stuart Penny.

Pat, who was 85, farmed at Pound Farm near Trowbridge and subsequently at Spiers Piece Farm at Steeple Ashton near Trowbridge where he ran a successful contract farming business with his son Chris.

His love of point-to-pointing started as a rider where he nearly rode a winner on his own horse Spirana but was beaten a head in a maiden at Larkhill in 1974 by an inspired ride by John Mead on Memorial Day. He then turned to training horses himself, with his son Chris riding. He acquired the former Joe Turner-gelding Fashion Man as a schoolmaster for Chris and proceeded to win four races at Larkhill, with the horse relishing the faster ground that existed at the Wiltshire course in the late 1970s.

After training horses at home for a while he turned to the talented trainer John Dufosee where the most successful horse John trained for him was Spiers Peace, named after his farm. A winner on his debut at Larkhill as a five-year-old in 2004 when ridden by Rilly Goschen and subsequently a restricted at Hackwood the following year, he improved substantially when tried over longer trips. He triumphed in both the Tedworth Gold Cup and the four-miler at Flete Park when partnered by Ryan Bliss in 2006, and narrowly failed to complete a hat-trick when beaten by Bright Approach in the long-distance Open Champion Hunters’ Chase at the much missed hunter chase meeting at Folkestone. The following season saw him score again in the Tedworth Gold Cup, but that was virtually his swansong.

After the death of John Dufosee, Pat then had his horses trained by Stuart Penny and his partner Teona Hammond at Inwood. His best horse with Stuart was the ex-Tim Vaughan-trained hurdler Latest Trend (pictured above with Teona Hammond, Stuart Penny, Poppy Skipper, Jill Awdry, Bridget Andrews and Pat) who won on debut in a ladies open at Barbury Castle in December 2013 under Bridget Andrews. Further victories that season followed in ladies’ races at Larkhill and Cothelstone when partnered by Poppy Skipper and Bridget once again. His career concluded with a commendable fourth in a competitive ladies’ contest at Badbury, won by Benedictus, when partnered by the recently retired Clare Hart.

He regularly had a runner each season with Stuart and this year his colours were worn by the six-year-old Fame and Glory gelding Balinesker Beach, who was third in a Cothelstone maiden in April when partnered by Charlie Sprake.

Pat was a very active member of the Avon Vale Hunt, being the Chairman and a Trustee at different stages of his life, and was the Secretary of the Avon Vale Point-to-Point in the late 1970s.

He is survived by his widow Jill, his son Chris and daughters Jane and Ruth, and his grandchildren, and our sincere condolences are sent to them all.

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