A young Pembroke-shire jockey has just missed out on being crowned a national point-to-point champion.

Nineteen-year-old John Mathias, of Manorbier, finished three points adrift in the race for the men’s champion jockey title for the 2010 point-to-point season.

Despite having a great chance to take the title for the first time and emulate his grandfather Fred, who was joint champion in 1956, John decided not to take up the offer of four prospective rides at the final meeting of the season at Umberleigh.

After walking the course the day before the meeting, he said: “I wasn’t prepared to risk nice young horses on firm ground.”

Despite the disappointment of coming so close to winning the ultimate prize, John remained upbeat.

He added: “If you finish in the top half dozen you’ve got to be pleased. I’m just so glad to think that I haven’t got to dash off to ride somewhere tomorrow.”

John finished the season with a string of winners to his name and 37 points in the national champion standings, just behind winner Richard Woolacott on 40 points.

John spends six days a week working as head lad at the yard of Pembrokeshire trainer Dai Rees.

John has already tasted huge success on the point-to-point circuit, being named the country’s best youth jockey in 2002, 22 years after his father Phil won the award. They are the only father and son ever to have won the award, now known as the Wilkinson Sword Trophy.