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!
Congratulations to the only amateur jockey riding in the Scottish Grand National Zac Baker who had a great spin aboard Nigel Twiston-Davies’s BENBENS to finish a gallant 3rd behind stable mate runner-up COGRY!
Well done Zac!
Do you have jockey plans for Easter weekend? An exciting invitation has just landed for 2 amateur jockeys – either gentlemen and/or lady riders – to ride in Bratislava, Slovakia on Easter Sunday!
The plan is for jockeys to fly out on Easter Saturday to Bratislava and return Monday, racing on the Flat on Sunday over 2000 metres (1m 2f). All flights will be paid for by the AJA.
If you are interested, you do not need to have ridden a winner but must have some race riding experience either on the Flat or jump racing/point-to-pointing/Arab racing and be able to ride at a light weight for men – top weight is 62 kg (9 stone 10 lbs) and bottom weight 57 kg (9 stone). You should also be a member of the AJA.
Please e-mail email@example.com as soon as possible if you would like to be considered, giving your full racing career details.
Many congratulations to leading amateur jockey of the season James King who enjoyed a fantastic victory at Aintree in the Fox Hunters, going one better than last year’s runner-up slot when again partnering Dineur for trainer Peter Bowen’s son Mickey.
Sadly the pair did not enter the winner’s enclosure as James dismounted after passing the post to ensure the horse’s welfare. Following the race Mickey said “He was quite tired and gave himself a nick. The vets are checking him out but he seems fine. He had a leg two seasons back and when he came here last year he ran second to On The Fringe. Things have gone a lot more smoothly this season and he came out of his run at Chepstow last month really well. We’re delighted with the result and depending on how he recovers he could go to Punchestown at the end of the month. He went there last year but the ground was slower than he wants. So the ground there will be a factor if he’s to travel.”
James said: “Dineur was brilliant. He’s pretty sharp so I wanted him to start quickly. He settled into a nice rhythm and I was always happy where I was. He was a little tired at the finish and I led him to the cooling-down area. He didn’t seem too bad but it was better to be safe than sorry.”
Katie Walsh had what looked like a nasty fall at The Chair from Distime amid initial fears that she had broken her arm. Luckily it transpired that it was only bruised and she was subsequently passed fit to ride Wonderful Charm in the Random Health Grand National.
Well done James on tightening an already firm grip on this season’s amateur men’s jumps championship with this win now taking his total for the season to 15, 7 wins ahead of his nearest rival Richard Patrick.
Huge thanks to each and every amateur jockey who applied for the extraordinary opportunity so kindly offered by our friends in the US for two amateur jockeys from this side of the pond to ride in the Maryland Hunt Cup.
Over 100 applications were received both from UK based and Irish amateur jockeys and there were many very strong contenders which made the selection process challenging. However, the prerequisite for jockeys to have to commit to a minimum stay of 9 days helped a little to narrow the field.
After lengthy discussions with Amateur Riders Club of America President and Middleburg trainer Don Yovanovic and winning 2016 Maryland Hunt Cup trainer Joe Davies, we are delighted to announce that Emma Todd and Max Kendrick will travel from the UK to the USA next month and spend a week with Joe Davies before riding in the Maryland Hunt Cup on Saturday 29th April.
We are very hopeful that further such opportunities will arise in the future to share with our experienced amateur jockeys in the hope that as many jockeys as possible can gain from such a unique adventure. Good luck Emma and Max! 🇬🇧
With the decline of jump racing in many parts of Europe in recent years (and also sadly now non-existent within Fegentri), the AJA welcome the founding of “The Gentlemen’s League”, a European Jump Championship for gentlemen riders, conceived by France’s Gonzague Cottreau and Maxim Denuault together with Ireland’s Patrick Mullins and GB’s Freddy Tett.
Yesterday saw the first race of their inaugural year held in Cork with this year’s representatives enjoying their first encounter: Pierre Dubourg for France, Dean Sinnott for Ireland and William Easterby for Great Britain. Unfortunately William’s weight cloth slipped off which automatically disqualified him from the race, with Dean finishing 2nd and Pierre down the field. However, a good time was had by all! The next race in their calendar will be held at Le Lion d’Angers on 25th May over their incredible cross country course. Good luck all!
To follow the boys’ progress throughout the year you can visit their website here: http://thegentlemensleague.wixsite.com/accueil/copie-de-l-association