Category: Jockey News
A veteran of pony racing, Abbie McCain enjoyed a first ride under Rules in The Robin Morland Memorial Amateur Hurdle, prominent throughout with DANCEINTOTHELIGHT, only to be headed after the last by Stan Sheppard and in form trainer Kerry Lee’s SCALES. Stan went on to score by 3 lengths to make it 6 wins now this season, just 4 behind leading jockey David Noonan. Stan is based with Paul Nicholls.
Proud fathers of jockey and trainer (above) – trainer Matt Sheppard and Richard Lee.
Many congratulations to winning connections.
With multiple Flat champion amateur Simon Walker clocking up winners in customary fashion, it seemed that the 2015 season might result in what has become a predictable conclusion. Simon has been crowned Amateur Gentleman Flat Champion Jockey no less than 8 times (2005, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 and joint champion in 13) and taken the runner-up position in all other intervening years. His 3rd win of the 2015 season on 6th October at Catterick therefore seemed to hint at another title in the bag. However, jumps trainer Warren Greatrex’s son Tom was yet to prove to be a hugely promising jockey addition to the amateur ranks.
Within the last few remaining weeks of the season, 17 year old Tom Greatrex rode an impressive 5 winners, the first being at Royal Windsor on 5th October with DREAMS OF GLORY for Ron Hodges (in a race restricted to riders who had ridden no more than 10 winners and therefore cannot count towards the championship). (see below inside rail white cap)
His return to Windsor on 19th October yielded another win, this time for Harry Dunlop with RUM SWIZZLE (photo finish with Sam Waley-Cohen on George Baker’s LOVING YOUR WORK). This was followed by a memorable double (below) at Leicester on 26th October when Tom took both divisions of the Fosse Way Amateur Riders’ Handicap with Brendan Powell’s CHAMPAGNE BOB and Richard Price’s UNCLE DERMOT.
Finally on 4th November Tom won the AJA gentlemen’s finale at Nottingham with Gary Moore’s TOP DIKTAT, winning by 3/4 of a length from the all time champion Simon Walker!
Tom, twin brother of Edward Greatrex (who is apprenticed to Andrew Balding and famed for his success this summer aboard Godolphin’s Musaddas), is attached to David Pipe’s yard and only had his first ride as a 16 year old on 26th January of this year in an AJA sponsored hurdle race at Ludlow. He is a great example of the usefulness of the amateur route as a training ground and we send him huge congratulations for such a great start to his career.
Congratulations also to champion Simon Walker on his consistent position at the top of the tables over so many years. In addition Simon has also been crowned Champion Jockey of the Arabian Racing Organisation. Simon and Tom share this year’s title of Gentleman Amateur Champion Jockey with 4 wins each.
The ladies Flat season drew to its customary close at Newbury on Saturday with a media frenzy around Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton having only her third ride under Rules and bookmakers incredulously making her mount Satanic Beat favourite.
Followers of the Ladies Amateur Flat Championship were however concentrating on Joanna Mason‘s last ride of the season whilst she remained alongside Serena Brotherton top of the tables on 6 wins each, but Serena without a ride.
Ultimately the season concluded with Gina Andrews winning for the in-form Pam Sly on SYNCOPATE staying on well ahead of long time leader Katy Lyons and GLENS WOBBLY, with Charlotte Pownall having her first ride and finishing third on BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. (Joanna finished 11th; Victoria was unseated inside the final furlong when her horse stumbled.)
Such is the success of Serena’s career on the Flat that she has enjoyed the ladies championship an incredible previous 7 times (2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014) and now enjoys her 8th championship. Serena also won outside the ladies championship this summer, victorious when representing Great Britain in the ladies international race at Carlisle on their Ultimate Ladies Night in early August and also in France in September during a lull in the ladies calendar.
Joanna’s story for 2015 is extraordinary, having broken her back point-to-pointing in March this year which necessitated her having 8 pins and 2 steel rods inserted into her back. Jo displayed huge grit and determination pushing herself hard physically, successfully showing her regular partner LIVERPOOL whilst she recuperated, and was passed fit to return to race riding by the BHA at the end of June!
As the ladies season progressed, both Serena and Jo forged ahead of their competitors and gave a real edge to the battle for the championship with a ding-dong battle at the top of the tables. An added twist was Jo picking up a 4-day ban at Brighton which consequently stopped her riding in 3 races but Serena did not ride in the final 3 of the season, leaving herself vulnerable until the finale.
Huge congratulations Jo on not only your first ladies championship but also on overcoming so much adversity, and many congratulations also to Serena on another amazing season! Yorkshire must be very proud of you both!
Many congratulations to MICHELLE EDDEN who has won ATR August Ride of the Month for her victory recently at Brighton with her own FLAG OF GLORY trained by Peter Hyatt.
With top professional jockeys Willy Twiston-Davies, George Baker, Barry Geraghty and Cathy Gannon also nominated, it was a huge achievement for amateur Michelle’s ride to receive the greatest number of votes from At The Races viewers. Michelle wins £500, with Retraining of Racehorses also receiving the same amount.
A video of the race can be seen below. Watch the line that Michelle took in the closing stages of the race (on her trainer’s instructions) with the nearside running rail helping her to get her horse’s head in front to be first past the post. Well done Michelle!
Congratulations John Dawson, surely the owner of the longest legs of any licensed jockey, who had a day to remember at Beverley racecourse yesterday when partnering JAN DE HEEM trained by Tina Jackson in the Betfair Supports Amateur Riders Handicap.
Although nearly hitting his head when leaving the stalls (!) John was always going comfortably, initially holding up his mount before making significant smooth headway from 3 furlongs out, ultimately fighting off this season’s leading Flat gentleman Kaine Wood on MISS RANGER and pushing his mount out as they neared the line, winning by 3/4 of a length.
The story of the race was unusual. Not only was the public interest alerted to the second ride under Rules of Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton which created a huge media buzz at the course but also amongst the 16 runner field were the current leading amateur jockeys of this season, Kaine Wood and Serena Brotherton, both obviously keen to add to their tally (whilst Joanna Mason had to endure watching the race as she sits out her current ban).
Well done John on a great start to your Flat career!
With a lull in the ladies calendar here in Blighty, our reigning champion lady rider Serena Brotherton did not sit still last weekend but undertook a trip to the Continent. As a result, she nearly made it a winning double with a victory in a lady amateur race at Bordeaux-Le-Bouscat en route to San Sebastian in Spain. There she rode her own CITY GROUND (above) trained by Mick Easterby (and led up by fellow amateur Aly Deniel) to finish 2nd in an amateur rider’s mile race.
“It came about only because I read an article in the Racing Post that racing had resumed at San Sebastian” said Serena. “I e-mailed to enquire if I could ride. I could have run my horse in a conditions race against professionals but there was an amateur riders’ race and there are none at home at the moment. The Bordeaux trip was a totally unexpected bonus and it was very kind of Enrique Leon to let me ride his horse. I took City Ground to Jersey last year and managed to win, but I’m struggling to win with him at home. He travels well so we thought we would come on a trip and it nearly came off.”
Serena is now on a career total of 95 wins with her ambition of reaching 100 a little closer. Well done Serena!
Any amateur jockey who sustains a concussion as a result of a fall whilst riding under Rules can now claim a Concussion Bounty in line with the system used by professional jockeys.
If you are unlucky enough to sustain such an injury and have had a red entry into your medical book, you will need to replace your crash helmet. Upon receipt of the damaged helmet, the sum of £80 will be rewarded to you in order for you to replace your helmet.
To benefit from this entitlement please post your damaged helmet to the AJA at Crews Hill House, Alfrick, Worcester WR6 5HF together with the attached form in order for your claim to be processed.
Please click on this link to download the form required to be posted along with the damaged helmet:
In view of the success over the last 3 years of the Betfair Novice Amateur Flat Series (for amateur jockeys who have ridden no more than 3 Flat winners at the start of the current Flat season) the BHA have introduced 2 new Flat races for amateurs who have ridden no more than 10 Flat winners. (Wins counted are those gained under Rules; both Arab and point-to-point races are discounted.) These races have been programmed within the old gentlemen’s Fegentri slots of the past so that they do not impinge on the existing racing calendar and are programmed at:
ROYAL WINDSOR on 5th October: FIVE FURLONGS for 3 year olds and upwards rated 51-65. To be ridden by Amateur Riders who, prior to 2nd October 2015, have not ridden more than 10 winners and who are members of AJAGB by the time fixed for declaration of riders under Rule (f)92.2 of the Rules of Racing
NOTTINGHAM on 28th October: ONE MILE 2 FURLONGS for 3 year olds and upwards rated 46-60. To be ridden by Amateur Riders who, prior to 25th October 2015, have not ridden more than 10 winners under the Rules of Racing or the Rules of a recognised Racing Authority and who are members of AJAGB by the time fixed for the declaration of riders under Rule (F)92.2 of the Rules of Racing.
A BHA Jockey Coach will be in attendance on each day for a pre-race coursewalk and a post-race debrief for all jockeys.
A rain soaked Ripon racecourse did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd in attendance to witness the eagerly awaited debut as a licensed amateur of double Olympic cycling champion Victoria Pendleton for the finale of the Betfair Novice Amateur Riders Series finale this afternoon and they were not to be disappointed with a thrilling race in store.
A slow pace was set which resulted in pacesetting Joe Wright and CHOCOLATE DIAMOND soon joined by Victoria Pendleton and ROYAL ETIQUETTE, with the pair’s lead on the remainder of the field increasing as they turned into the home straight. Victoria Pendleton took it up 3 furlongs out much to the thrill of the large crowd there to support her, but as they cheered her home and the winning post neared, the field started to close in. Tom Greenwood and JORDAURA were always making steady headway from 3 out and a photo finish was called with 3 horses locked in battle as they passed the post. Ultimately it was Jordaura who stayed on the strongest to give Tom Greenwood his first ever Flat winner by a neck, with Victoria Pendleton placed second and Ross Turner on BOLD HENMIE a neck back in third.
Many congratulations to Tom Greenwood on a memorable victory, to Victoria Pendleton on such a promising debut and congratulations to all our winners and riders within this 8 race series. Sincere thanks must go to Betfair for their loyal support over the last 3 years. The value of these novice riders’ races cannot be overestimated. Many thanks also to Jockey Coach Tim Reed who so expertly oversaw the jockeys throughout the series.
On a rain soaked day at Epsom, there was a touch of irony with the aptly named ENGLISH SUMMER trained by Richard Fahey giving Ireland’s Champion Amateur Paddy Mullins an armchair ride for his second victory within three years in the Epsom Gentlemen’s Amateur Derby.
Patrick was happy to sit absolutely motionless aboard his horse for most of the race, only to ease past them and win by 6 lengths with the utmost of ease. After the race h said: “I thought they went a bit hard. I was a little worried as I am used to going a bumper pace, but my fellow was a very easy ride. Being by Montjeu, he loved the ground and I think my grandmother could have won on him.
It was a nice coincidence to win on a Montjeu, the day that Hurricane Fly was retired. It is a race I have marked out at the start of the year and I always try to get a ride in it. To ride on the Derby course is magic. My father never won this race, so I give him a bit of stick about that. I am one up on him there and I don’t often get that!”
Well done to Paddy and to Richard Fahey who also of course won the ladies Derby here with this horse back in July when Aly Deniel enjoyed victory by a neck!