Sunday October 21, 2018
>Race Report – Cheltenham Pony Racing Day April 2015





It was lovely to see many spectators at Cheltenham this year. Having woken up to such a wet and miserable day my heart sank. However it cheered up and the afternoon weather did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of our young jockeys. To see all of the mud splattered, smiling faces returning to the weighing room was a joy.

We kicked off with the LYCETTS 12.2hh Open. Which as always had a few pony racing debutants in. With ages ranging from 9 year old children to an 18 year old pony. The first combination to grace the CHARLIE LONGSDON Racehorse Trainer Winners Enclosure was 12year old Will Featherstone all the way from the Puckeridge pony club, he had his first ride at Cheltenham last year and this was his third winner.

Both of our CHAMPION HEADWEAR Novice riders races had to be divided on the day. This just goes to show how many more children are getting involved in pony racing, which is great news. Alfie Godfrey was the winner of a 13.2hh division and was capping a busy first season with a win on his 7th ride. Ivor Herbert set up a fantastic double for the family winning the other division with Deehaven Chipmonk the former ride of amateur national hunt jockey Stan Shepard, whose parents get much praise for helping the Herbert boys. Ivor had always been a hunting man until he had his first ride earlier in the season and was hooked. The 14.2hh sections of this race were taken by Scribblin, Ben Sutton. Younger brother of jockey Domonic, ‘ it’s in the blood’ and Shoot the Moon, Jack Dayus who tells me he was delighted to win at Cheltenham on ‘Biscuit’ as she had taught him everything and his older brother had only managed to be 3rd here!

Harry Middleton had a satisfying win on Jazz who was having a first run back after a year off with injury in The PLOUGH INN Intermediate race. His dad told me he learns something in every race and today it was where the winning post is!! ‘He got interviewed by the stewards for stopping riding at the furlong pole!’

The CALMSDEN ESTATES Open races drew some of the lovely ponies who have taught so many children so much about racing. In the 13.2hh section the one to jump out of the page was G Whizz who started off with Megan Nicholls. However it was the 6year old Nomoranun who was first past the post under Oakley Brown. This made the long journey from the Middleton pony club worthwhile. Sadly only 3 contested the 14.2hh section with locals Just Cruzin, Sam Burton and Otterburn Lady, Alfie Martindale leading the betting. But the outsider spoilt the day for them, with Alana Taylor swooping past to win well. Alana’s pony Lynne had been spotted in a horse and hound advert but on finding out it was in Scotland was told it was too far away! Luckily for her the owners agreed to meet half way. She is now planning some outings in Charles Owen. Good luck to her.

The JONJO O’NIELL Intermediate was a good race won by Milo Herbert with the lovely ex Daly mare Heavenly Rose. It is a first season for this partnership. Milo is passionate about his racing and was riding in pony races as soon as he was old enough age 9.

Throughout the day we had beautifully turned out ponies who were rewarded with gift vouchers from TREEHOUSE SPORTING COLOURS.

Area 9, present a Scholarship for a week on the Pony Racing course at the British Racing School. We ask all area 9 entrants between the ages of 11 and 15 to write and tell us about themselves, their experiences and ambitions for the future. On the day we then decide on a winner and this year it went to Liam Harrison who at 12 years is incredibly knowledgeable. He does his pony before school every day tells his mum what work it needs to do and what it needs to be fed! On top of that he rides out at Neil Mullhollands at weekends. If that’s not dedication I’m not sure what is. He has now moved up onto a 14.2hh pony who was bought unbroken and he has brought it on slowly, this being its first run. He is only small and willing to take outside rides on 13.2hh ponies.

This just leaves me to say a huge thank you to everyone who supports us through sponsorship and racecard adverts. There are so many more of you than the people mentioned. It allows us to put on the race day and give so many children the amazing opportunity to ride on the Hallowed Turf of Cheltenham. Lucky things, I only wish we could have done the same.