Category: Jockey News

Nell McCann enjoyed 1st win with 1st ride in Betfair finale at Windsor!


Many congratulations to Nell McCann who enjoyed success on her first ever ride when partnering SOCIAL BUTTERFLY for Mick Channon at Windsor in the  6 furlong finale of the Betfair 8 race series for novice riders.

Always handy, the partnership joined the leaders at the half way stage and led inside the final furlong to keep on and win by half a length from series winning jockey Tom Midgley who came from a long way back on COASTAL DRIVE, with Sarah Bowen and WHITECREST a further length and 3/4 3rd.

Following the race Nell said “Social Butterfly took me through the whole race by herself – it was absolutely brilliant.  She travelled so perfectly and picked up exactly when I asked.”  Well done Nell on a great start to your career – and a worthy win for a real hard worker according to your boss which makes it even more rewarding.  Congratulations to all winning connections!

Congratulations to Tom Midgley, series winning jockey, together with all other winning jockeys who have enjoyed success in this series – Dylan McDonagh, Ellie MacKenzie, Amy Collier, Charlie Todd and Jessica Gillam – and all other participating jockeys who have ridden so well.

Many thanks to all supporting racecourses as well as Jockey Coach Tim Reed and all trainers who have given so many novice riders race riding opportunities that they may have otherwise been denied.  Importantly, huge thanks must also go to our loyal sponsors Betfair for yet another great series.

Planning now starts for 2019 for another great series to look forward to next summer!

Photos: (c) Francesca Altoft

Alex Ferguson enjoys Ascot success with CLIFFS OF CAPRI


The inaugural running of the Amateur Jockeys Association Handicap over 7f was held on Friday 5 October at Ascot for gentleman amateur riders.  With an initial entry of 18,  7 went to post.

Held up early on, CLIFFS OF CAPRI under Alex Ferguson made progress from halfway to lead inside the final 2 furlongs and win by 2 1/4 lengths from Freddie Mitchell and MANTON GRANGE, with Patrick Millman and DADDIES GIRL a head 3rd.

This completed a double on the day for trainer Jamie Osborne together with an amateur double with CLIFFS OF CAPRI at Ascot this season, having been successful here under Gina Andrew back in July when winning the ladies’ Longines.  “We have a good record here, mainly on the straight track” he said “I don’t know why – it must be the way we train them.  They come home well. It’s been a lucky place for us!”

Jamie added that he originally booked Patrick Mullins for the ride and when Patrick rang him to say he was unavailable whilst he travelling to Goffs with John Ferguson, Alex’s father immediately put him in for the ride.  Well done Alex on a great ride!

Are you a light gentleman amateur jockey who would be interested in riding abroad?


There is a possibility for a light amateur gentleman jockey to enjoy the opportunity to ride in China later this month from 26 to 28 October by kind invitation of Wuhan Jockey Club.  The race is a 1200 metre non-handicapped for non-Thoroughbreds on 27 October and details are yet to be confirmed.  All expenses of flight and accommodation will be met.

In addition it is hoped that future trips will be available to not only China but also other countries worldwide for gentleman riders with plans currently in progress.

If you are nearer 9 stone than 10 stone and would like to put your name forward, please e-mail your details (including total number of rides and wins as well as age and weight) to

Joanna Mason announced as finalist for WOMEN OF THE FUTURE


Many congratulations to Joanna Mason, our leading lady jockey and Champion Arabian Lady Jockey for the third successive seasons this year, on reaching the final nominations for the “Women of the Future” Awards to be held in London in mid-November.

Joanna is following in the footsteps of Alice Mills (2016) and Page Fuller (2017),  and we are delighted for Jo’s great achievement in reaching the finals in such a prestigious initiative – “to unlock a culture of kindness and collaboration among leaders”.  These awards, founded by Pinky Lilani CBE DL, provide a platform for the remarkable female talent in the UK and recognise the inspirational stars of tomorrow across diverse sectors.

Jo’s nomination is a recognition of not only her talents as a top amateur jockey (currently leading this season’s All-Weather Championship and Joint Lady Flat Champion in 2017) but also of her courage in overcoming serious injury to return to the saddle and continue enjoying her competitive riding career. Well done Jo!

Photo credit: Michael Harris

Tom Midgley leads the Betfair Series in an unassailable position for the finale at Windsor


It is heartening to see 29 entries for our final Betfair Novice Riders Series to be held at Windsor next Monday.

The penultimate race in the series was held at Carlisle on 6th September with 12 novice riders benefiting from the watchful eye of Jockey Coach Tim Reed with a coursewalk and post race debrief as is standard in this series.

The race was run over a mile with Tom riding for Alan Brown aboard WARRIOR’S SPIRIT. Holding his horse up until 2 furlongs from home, he led inside the final furlong and kept on well despite drifting right to win by 2 1/4 lengths from Tom Greenwood and EDGAR ALLAN POE 2nd, with Rachel Sharpe and COLOUR CONTRAST just a short head 3rd. James Jay Kendrick was 4th.

This victory put Tom in an unassailable position as series winner with 15 points, 6 clear of his nearest rivals Billy Garritty and Ellie MacKenzie. Many congratulations to Tom on a wonderful achievement! The competition for the runner-up slot remains open.

Huge thanks to our loyal sponsors Paddy Power Betfair without whom these great race riding opportunities would not be possible for so many novice riders.  Good luck all!

Amateur Champion Lorcan Williams wins Jockey Club Jump Award


Many congratulations to our 2017/18 Champion Amateur Gentleman Jockey Lorcan Williams on being awarded the Jump Award 2018 by the Jockey Club at the McCoys on Friday evening at Cheltenham Racecourse.  Lorcan finished last season (aged 18) with 12 wins, with both Zac Baker and Alex Edwards joint runners-up with 11.

Lorcan has now turned conditional attached to Paul Nicholls’ yard.  We wish him well for every success with his future career.


Ex-conditional jockeys age cap of 26 lifted by BHA for point to points


After lengthy negotiation back in 2010 the BHA kindly agreed to raise the cap of winning rides for ex-conditionals/apprentices reverting to amateur status from 10 to 25 and also remove the 48 month time limit that was then in place.

At that time we automatically assumed that the age restriction would also be lifted, but unfortunately it has taken another 8 years of continual request to see this progress somewhat in that ex-conditionals/apprentices can (as of today) now ride in point-to-points even after retiring as a professional after the age of 25.

Our struggle continues as we request that this same Rule (that has always existed in Ireland where there is no age limit) should also apply under Rules to include Hunter Chases as well as both amateur and NH professional races.

We would welcome hearing from any ex-conditional/apprentice jockey who would benefit from a lifting of the current age restriction of 26 who has not exceeded 25 professional wins.

Please get in touch with Sarah Oliver if this is you at e-mail: or text 07789 935399.

Many thanks.

Becky Smith extends Lady Flat Championship lead with fine win at Beverley


Many congratulations to Becky Smith on tightening her grip on the ladies’ Flat Championship yesterday when winning the last at Beverley with PALINDROME for Marjorie Fife, bringing her season tally to 9, 2 clear of nearest rival Emily Easterby.

Detached by some way in the early stages, Palindrome made steady headway from 3 furlongs out to chase the leaders and switched left inside the final furlong to lead and win by a neck from Nigel Tinkler’s DUTCH COED and Samantha Pugh (having her first ride), with HARD TOFFEE (Serena Brotherton) just over a length 3rd and WHATWOULDYOUKNOW (Amie Waugh)  a further 2 lengths 4th.

Many congratulations to winning connections and huge thanks to Beverley Racecourse for their great support of amateur races this and every season.

Calendar update: Important: All amateur jockeys!


Calendar update: Important: All amateur jockeys!
Please note that Nottingham will this year kindly host both final races of the season for our gentlemen and our lady riders.
Therefore we have changes to races planned as follows:
31st October: Gentlemen riders only: final race of season
7th November: Lady riders only: final race of season
Good luck all!

Gents All-Weather race counts towards Flat Championship


Every winner is so special to all connections, not least the jockey, and every effort is therefore made to include every win within a championship.
Consequently Carol Bartley‘s win in 2017’s Silk Series on the A/W at Newcastle counted towards the ladies amateur turf championship and similarly this year’s win by Ella Mccain at Wolverhampton is included.
Using the same logic, with our amateur All-Weather Championship involving both sexes riding except for a single race – the gentlemen’s race at Wolverhampton on 9th May – the winning ride here by James Harding aboard HEWOULDWOULDNTHE for Jonathan Portman will count towards the gentlemen’s flat championship.
Any race which have special conditions, such as invitation races or novice riders’ races (barring anyone with more than 3 wins from participating) cannot be counted towards any championship when they are not open for all to take part.