Profile - Arron Butterfield
The point to point season 2021-22 will be one that will live long in the memory of 18 year old Arron Butterfield from Frome Somerset. Whilst he began his point to point riding career as a 16 year old at Dunsmore in November 2019 it was not until last season did his talents start to show through his partnership with the eight year old gelding Footloose who provided Arron not only with his first ever riding winner at Larkhill but also gave him four other victories to end the season.
Acquired privately after showing some promise with both Jamie Snowden under National Hunt Rules and Harriet Brown in point to points he made his debut at Larkhill for Arron in November 2021 when finishing runner up to the subsequently prolific The Big Sting in a Maiden Race. Wearing his usual hood to keep him as calm as possible in the paddock he was led up by Gwyn Marsh who Arron and his father Alex give much credit to the transformation of the gelding who has in the past been quirky but Gwyn’s patience and attention to him has been a major influence. He was only beaten a length by The Big Sting ridden by Will Biddick and this form was quickly franked at the Avon Vale meeting in December when he romped home by !2 lengths to give Arron his first victory.
Another two visits to Larkhill followed in January with an easy win in a Restricted race followed by being runner up in the Novice Riders race at the Royal Artillery meeting. These four outings at Larkhill during the season gave Arron the course awards for both the leading Owner Rider and the most successful Novice horse at the beginning of the season.
After finishing third to Rocheston and Molineaux in a strongly run Hunt race at Cothelstone Footloose ran three more times in the season and was unbeaten in all of those outings. Firstly he secured a very narrow success in an Intermediate at Kilworthy, followed up with a comfortable victory in an Owner/Trainers race at Cherrybrook and finished the season winning the Cornish National at Trebudannon over an extended 3 and a half miles when defeating the tough mare River Myth.
All of these successes were recognized at the Wessex Awards evening in July at Taunton when Arron collected both the John Dufosee Trophy for the leading Owner/Rider in the area and the Wincanton Racecourse Novice Horse Championship for the most successful Novice Horse in the area.
Plans are already been made for the new season due to start in November with races at Badbury Rings and Larkhill being penciled in for the partnership. Arron still has the option of Novice Riders races for the new season having halted his wins at five as well as Open races. A tilt at Hunter Chases is also being considered for the new season.
Arron continues to ride out each morning for trainer Joe Tizzard at Milborne Port and then goes to neighbouring Toomer Farm where his point to point horses are stabled to ride work on the three horses he plans to point to point next season. His father Alex who is a vital part of the partnership mucks the horses out in the morning in readiness for Arron’s arrival. Alex, who rode in point to points in 1980s and 1990s without winning a race but did finish second at Larkhill on Precious Opal on two occasions ,has had a wealth of experience in racing yards having worked for Jenny Pitman, Nicky Henderson, Caroline Keevil and most recently Johnny Farrelly. He is Arron’s strongest supporter as well as being his proud father.
At the recent Larkhill awards lunch the opportunity was taken to catch up with Arron and Alex and to talk about the other two horses he plans to train and ride next season.
Sandford Castle – The winner of a 3 mile 2 furlong chase for Johnny Farrelly at Taunton he began his career with Arron when finishing third in a Novice Riders race at Stafford Cross and followed that up with another third in a Veteran horse point to point at Flete Park before pulling up at Cothelstone in May. He ought to be seen to better effect on much softer going as his best form under Rules was either soft or heavy.
Janespriceless – A 6 year old grey Jelani mare who had one outing last season at Flete Park when pulling up in April. Owned and bred by Jane Nicholls she will be Arron’s first outside horse that he will be training and it is hoped that she will run in Mares Maiden races at the beginning of the new season