A dramatic day at Beverley yesterday with the Brian and Jason Merrington Memorial Handicap over 1m 2f divided. This was welcome news with September historically quiet for amateur flat races.
The first division saw 16 runners take part, with a dramatic exit from leading lady Jo Mason when Richard Gusts’s SAKHALIN STAR clipped heels when in touch about 3 furlongs from home and falling. Thankfully Joanna was unscathed and passed the doctor to ride in the second division but it must have been painful for her to see her grandfather’s DECIMA driven clear by Pat Millman inside the final furlong to win by over 4 lengths from Emily Easterby on her father’s INSPECTOR NOSE with Becky Smith and ALMUNTHER 3/4 lengths away 3rd.
This win gave Pat his 5th of the season, 3 clear of his nearest rivals Ben James, Jamie Brace and reigning champion Simon Walker (all on 2 wins each).
To underline his grip on this season’s gentleman’s championship, Pat made it a double on the night by partnering JOHN CAESAR in the second division of 14 runners for Becky Bastiman, driving his horse out to win by a length and a half and deny Bruce Lynn aboard Richard Fahey’s ROYAL COSMIC with Joanna Mason 3/4 length back in 3rd.
Well done Pat on a great evening’s racing and a fantastic season so far! Congratulations too to all winning connections and many thanks to Beverley Racecourse and Sally Iggulden for their continued support of amateur racing this season.
What has now become a feature for any amateur jockey who has no more than 3 wins under Rules as of 1st April of the current year is the Betfair Novice Amateur Riders Flat Series, now in its fifth consecutive year thanks to the loyal and generous support of Betfair. This series was instigated to help those amateurs who do not normally get many (if any) race riding opportunities through their lack of experience and/or success. Under the watchful eye of a Jockey Coach the participating jockeys attend a coursewalk prior to racing together with a full de-brief after weighing in and this series is very much seen as a training series for amateur jockeys to equip them for the future. Races have always been carefully selected so as not to encroach on any existing amateur race programming in order that more experienced amateur jockeys would not feel that any sacrifice had to be made on their part.
This year the series began at Wolverhampton for the first time (replacing Windsor) and continued at Catterick, Leicester, Redcar, Thirsk, Nottingham, Carlisle and culminated at Ripon. Jockey coach Tim Reed offered his usual invaluable support, and whilst he was unfortunately and unexpectedly incapacitated we were most grateful to be able to call upon his jockey coach colleagues Kim Tinkler, Alex Greaves and John Bramhill. Many thanks to them all.
Huge congratulations to Abbie McCain on winning the Series after a flying start winning the 1st race in the series at Wolverhampton and following that up with two 2nds and a 3rd to give her a final series score of 16 points. Many congratulations also to runner-up Will Milburn who enjoyed an incredible 2 wins in the series at Catterick and Leicester (the 2nd and 3rd races in the series) but without any placed rides thereafter was unable to catch Abbie.
Others who enjoyed wins were Emily Bullock at Redcar, Ella McCain at Thirsk, Matt Ennis at Nottingham, Lewis Stones at Carlisle and Jessica Cooley at Ripon. Well done to all the winning riders and also to those placed in the series and everyone who took part.
A total of 90 rides were enjoyed by 45 different jockeys across the 8 races which made up the series and we are enormously grateful to all owners, trainers, jockey coaches and racecourses as well as the sponsors BETFAIR for their wonderful support in enabling this great series to take place. Thank you one and all!
Nobody ever forgets riding their first winner and it was great to see Yorkshire’s Emma Chaston-Smith do just that (turquoise colours) aboard BREEZOLINI for Ireland’s 🇮🇪Adrian Joyce at Hamilton on 2 September in the Bet toteplacepot At betfred.com Amateur Riders’ Handicap.
Holding her horse up on the outside of the field of 11, they made headway a couple of furlongs from home to lead inside the final furlong and run on strongly to score by 2 lengths from Catherine Walton and KNOCKAMANDY BENDS with Bruce Lynn and JEBEL TARA a head back in third.
Emma is featured in this week’s Irish Field having now moved to Adrian Keatley to further her jockey career. Many congratulations Emma and all the best for many more winners in the future!
It was good to see our gentlemen amateur riders racing at Chester on Friday. especially as, due to race programming losing a day from last year, we unfortunately lost our ladies race there earlier this year.
Well done to Billy Garritty who enjoyed a great win aboard DARK DEVIL for Richard Fahey. Taking up the lead two furlongs from home, Billy rode his horse out inside the final furlong for Dark Devil to respond gamely and hold on to win by half a length from Jonny Flook aboard MIA CARA for Dave Evans with Fred Tett aboard MR RED CLUBS 5 lengths back in 3rd.
Very many thanks to Arena Racing for the introduction this summer of the Silk Series for both professional and amateur lady jockeys which consisted of 9 races held at ARC racecourses throughout the UK culminating in a finale at Doncaster yesterday.
Several amateur ladies were lucky enough to secure rides against the pros which included the following placed rides: Ellie MacKenzie (2nd Lingfield, 3rd Chepstow), Elizabeth Bushe (4th Lingfield), Jodie Hughes (2nd Chepstow), Serena Brotherton (2nd Yarmouth, 3rd Brighton), Jessica Cooley (4th Yarmouth), Ella McCain (2nd Newcastle) and Carly Scott (3rd Newcastle).
Our favourite race in the series is unquestionably Newcastle on 29th July when our triple lady champion Carol Bartley enjoyed a decisive win aboard ARCHIPELIGO for Iain Jardine with fellow amateurs Ella MacKenzie and Carly Scott 2nd and 3rd. Huge congratulations to Carol on an unforgettable win!
It was also good to see two of our ex-amateurs Shelley Birkett and Megan Nicholls amongst 4 ladies with a chance of winning the Tufnell Trophy at Doncaster as winning Silk Series jockeys, and many congratulations to Megan on securing this title in its inaugural year.
Its not very often that an amateur jockey enjoys a winning ride on 2 consecutive days, but to ride a winner on 3 consecutive days is very rare. Make that 3 wins in 3 days in 3 different countries and it is extraordinary.
That is exactly what Freddie Tett achieved recently when he began the last weekend in August riding in France’s inaugural point-to-point at Vaumas on Saturday. Riding as a non-nominated guest rider in the inaugural The Gentlemen’s League series in the cross country race, Fred sent the Augustine Adeline de Boisbrunet-trained SARIKA to the front 5 fences from home and managed to hold on in a photo finish from the fast finishing URGENT DE GREGAINE and Ireland’s Dean Sinnott, with William Easterby 3rd on ALPHA TIEP. A video of the day can be seen here of the day’s racing, with the pont-to-point race starting at approx 1:28:30: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kvah4k4-Gus
Well done also to William Easterby who rides for GB in this year’s Gentlemen’s League (against France and Ireland) and went on to win a race of his own on the same day.
A 3 am start on Sunday morning saw Fred back in the UK in time to partner his mother’s horse MR RED CLUBS at Goodwood trained by his brother Henry and running in the Gay Kindersley memorial amateur riders’ Handicap. 11 went to post with Fred content to bide his time until about 2 furlongs out, where he wore down the leaders to pull clear inside the final furlong and win by a couple of lengths.
Next stop Les Landes, Jersey on Bank Holiday Monday for the first race of the day over hurdles which he duly won by 4 lengths when riding against professionals aboard BOWL IMPERIOR for local trainer Alyson Malzard. Well done Fred on a great weekend’s work and a unique achievement!
The Amateur Jockeys Association welcome the return of the popular Betfair Novice Flat Amateur Series for the fifth consecutive year. The Series is open to amateur jockeys who are members of the AJA and who at the start of the 2017 Flat Season have ridden no more than 3 winners under the Rules of Racing (both Jump and Flat). This excludes Point-to-Point and Arab racing wins.
The Amateur Jockeys Association manage the series in consultation with the British Horseracing Authority. In addition Tim Reed, Jockey Coach, will be in attendance to walk the course with all participating jockeys before each race and to offer help and advice with a de-brief afterwards.
Points are awarded to riders with 10 points for the winner, 6 for second, 4 for third and 2 for fourth. Also-rans are awarded 1 point. In addition to winning connections being presented with Betfair trophies after each race, the winning series jockey is presented with the Betfair Novice Flat Amateur Series Trophy. Races are scheduled to take place as follows:
3rd July Wolverhampton
19th July Catterick Bridge
26th July Leicester
2nd August Redcar
15th August Thirsk
18th August Nottingham
23rd August Carlisle
28th August Ripon
Harry Phillips of Betfair commented today “We are proud to once again be sponsoring the Betfair Amateur series for a fifth consecutive year. Over the past five years the programme has gone from strength to strength and we’re delighted to continue our support for amateur jockeys.”
Tim Reed, Jockey Coach, said “Betfair are great supporters in bringing on our future champions. In the last four years this series has introduced the likes of Hollie Doyle, Lewis Edmunds, Philip Dennis and Megan Nicholls as top Apprentices, Stan Shepherd and Harry Bannister as top Conditionals and top Amateurs in James King, Page Fuller, Bryony Frost and Tom Greatrex. It is also a natural stepping stone for pony race riding graduates to get a “leg up” on their journey as future jockeys. Well done to all involved in this great series.”
Sarah Oliver of the AJA said “The opportunities that this series offers to inexperienced jockeys is absolutely invaluable in providing them with race riding opportunities which they would otherwise be denied. Betfair’s loyal and generous support at this grass roots level is hugely appreciated by trainers and jockeys alike and we are proud to be able to offer what has now become an established training series for the fifth consecutive year.”
Many thanks to Ilona Barnett and all at Stratford Racecourse for their kind generosity in allowing us once again to round off the amateur jumps season with our Championship presentations at their Hunterchase meeting on Friday night, with the fixture dedicated exclusively for the first time to hunter chasers and pointer-to-pointers.
A huge round of applause to our 2016/17 Gentleman Amateur NH Champion Jockey JAMES KING and to our 2016/17 Lady Amateur NH Champion Jockey PAGE FULLER. Many congratulations also to our valiant runners up SAM DAVIES-THOMAS and EMMA TODD. It has been an extraordinary season culminating in a very tense final fortnight, James clinging onto his long time lead by an eventual single win right up until the conclusion of last night’s card. Winners eluded both James and Sam in their final appearances of the season but were enjoyed by MAX KENDRICK (Subaru Restricted Series Final), Ireland’s DAVID O’BRIEN (Foxdenton Gins Open Hunterchase), ALEX EDWARDS (John Corbet Cup), CLAIRE HARDWICK (Skinner’s Ladies Open Championship Final), JOHN DAWSON (Pertemps Foxhunters Champion Hunterchase), SHANE ROCHE (Sheldon Bosley Knight Handicap Hunterchase) and DARREN EDWARDS (P2P Bumper).
As is customary at this time of year, many of our most successful amateurs will be turning conditional and we wish them all the very best of luck in their future professional careers, proving once again the usefulness of the amateur route as a jockey training ground alongside point-to-pointing. A cautionary reminder to them all that anyone remaining conditional upon either reaching the age of 26 or a total of 26 winners as a professional can never revert back to amateur status as current BHA rules stand.
We also wish luck to James whilst he considers his future career options, and to Page who has decided to remain amateur for the immediate future and focus on retaining her championship title.
Many congratulations to all amateurs who enjoyed riding a winner in the 2016/17 season!
Many congratulations to Rosie Hill who had a great introduction to race riding at Ayr yesterday when partnering TESTA ROSSA for Jim Goldie in her first ever ride in public. Turning for home she took the wide outer to quicken into the lead as the field stretched out and go on to score by 6 lengths from Carol Bartley and FOREVER A LADY with Alana Cawley and REBEL STATE 3rd.Well done Rosie!
The ladies jump championship is proving to be a thriller with our top girls playing cat and mouse at the head of the leaderboard.Just before leaving for her Maryland trip to the USA, Emma Todd enjoyed a win over fences at Market Rasen with OLIVER’S GOLD for Mark Walford which took her into pole position on 7 wins. However, her lead was to be short-lived as just 6 days later Page Fuller enjoyed a great day at Stratford on Sunday riding her first career double under Rules to regain her hold on the top slot and now leads the girls with a total of 8 wins this season. (Ironically it was at Stratford that Page broke her ankle last August which frustratingly put her out of action for a long 4 months at the start of the season.)
A lucky spare ride on SGT BULL BERRY in the opening 3 mile chase saw Page shake off champion jockey Richard Johnson on the favourite THE LAST BRIDGE to win by 7 lengths. Returning from a 192-day absence, Sgt Bull Berry was always enjoying himself travelling well out in front and the partnership shook off their rivals with a near-perfect display of jumping. It was lucky that Page had arrived early for her only booked ride later in the day to be available for this ride and able to do the weight. Page said “I walked in and the first thing I heard was “You might be needed!”. I had an all-you-can-eat Chinese last night but my weight was good and off we went. He gave me a brilliant ride. He warmed up on the first circuit and if anything I could have done with some company but he jumped amazing. It’s hard to pick up rides and I’m really grateful to get the opportunity. I must also thank my boss Jamie Snowden, without whom none of this would have been possible.”
Warmed up herself now and in winning form, Page continued her afternoon to score with OUR THREE SONS for Jamie Snowden, making all in the 2m handicap hurdle and regaining her lead in the ladies jump tables.
Many congratulations to Page and to winning connections! Page now leads the ladies with 8 wins, Emma Todd on 7, Amie Waugh on 6 and Gina Andrews on 5.
With nearly 7 weeks of the season left before our amateur championship presentations at Stratford on the night of Friday 9th June, watch this space!