The 2015-16 All-Weather Amateur Championship has been somewhat unusual thanks to the introduction mid-season by the BHA of some special conditions to several races within the Racing Calendar, thereby ruling many races out of our usual All-Weather Championship. The idea of these new races was to give more opportunities to novice riders who might not otherwise have the chance of a ride and these training races proved to be useful for that purpose.
A new later finishing date for the season had been considered to coincide with the professional end of season at Lingfield. However, with so much disruption already to our season, the usual date of Wolverhampton’s meeting on 22nd February seemed the obvious and best date for the conclusion.
It was good to see what was to prove to be the last race of the season divided, with Division I won by Will Pettis, fresh from his winner of a novice riders’ race at Lingfield only 3 days earlier. He had enjoyed winning at Lingfield with PAO DE ACUCA for Jose Santos, making all to score by 6 lengths, and the winning partnership maintained their winning ways at Wolverhampton to score again, this time by 3 lengths. Division II was won by Alex Edwards with STORYTALE for Dave Roberts, using completely different tactics in holding up his horse and making steady headway from 3 furlongs out to lead near the finish and score by half a length.
The only jockey to enjoy 3 wins on the All-Weather this season (as well as placed rides) has been multiple winning Champion Jockey Simon Walker and many congratulations go to him for another Championship won with 21 points. His old adversary Serena Brotherton is to be congratulated on her runner-up slot having enjoyed 2 wins this season (as well as placed rides) giving her 13 points. Many congratulations also to Ryan Bird (2 wins), Georgina Friswell (2 wins), and Tom Greatrex, Ross Birkett, Patrick Millman, Chelsea Banham, Aly Deniel, William Easterby, Alex Edwards, Toby Eley, Brodie Hampson, Ellie MacKenzie, Joe Morris, Will Pettis and Frankie Pullar (all with 1 win) who have all enjoyed winning races open to all jockeys. We applaud you!
Many congratulations to Will Pettis on riding a 66/1 winner on Friday at Lingfield with PAO DE ACUCA for Jose Santos in the novice riders’ race and then following up with the same horse on Monday when riding against the experienced amateurs! What a partnership!
Will is current reigning Arabian Novice Jockey Champion and clearly his experience gained over last summer is paying dividends. Well done Will!
The AJA are delighted to announce that The Arabian Racing Organisation have kindly offered complimentary ARO jockey licences to all amateur jockeys who currently hold a BHA Category A or B licence for 2016.
Current Arabian Champion Jockeys Simon Walker, Page Fuller and Will Pettis are also well known for their successes both under Rules and point-to-pointing.
The AJA really appreciate ARO’s kind gesture and hope that not only will it benefit both organisations by working in closer partnership but that also it will serve to encourage more amateur jockeys to become involved and support Arabian racing which offers a full calendar across many racecourses this summer.
For more information on this year’s ARO fixtures please visit: www.aroracing.co.uk/events/
A gala ceremony to announce the 2016 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards was hosted by the BHA in partnership with the Racing Post at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London last night with no less than 3 lady amateur jockeys in attendance, Alyson Deniel and Becky Smith having made it through to the shortlist of 3 nominated for the Rider/Groom award and a RoR Special Recognition award being made to Joanna Mason.
The Rider/Groom award was presented by Sir Anthony McCoy to Aly Deniel, Travelling Lass/Rider/Groom to Richard Fahey, who has worked in racing for 25 years having begun her racing career with Jimmy Fitzgerald. She has been based at Mews House since 2010 and recently travelled BIRCHWOOD to Keenland. Aly is a familiar name to us all having ridden both Jump, Flat and Arabian winners, and won for Great Britain in Australia in the 2015 HH Sheikha Fatima bint Murabak Ladies World Series.
Many congratulations also to Becky Smith who joined Aly within the top 3 nominations for this category from 7,000 stable staff nationwide. Becky is Head Girl to Micky Hammond in Middleham and, alongside her sister Gemma Hogg, has been instrumental in the yard’s revival. Becky also won for GB in the ladies Arabian series last year scoring in Texas and finished 2nd in Abu Dhabi’s finale in November (below) – her return to race riding from serious injury has been remarkable. Last night however belonged to her devoted sister with Gemma receiving not only the Leadership Award but also the most coveted prize for British racing industry staff, the Employee of the Year Award – a huge achievement.
Congratulations also to Joanna Mason who broke her back in a point-to-point fall about 12 months ago and received the RoR Special Recognition Award for her rapid return to riding, assisted hugely by her versatile ex-racehorse LIVERPOOL originally trained by her grandfather Mick Easterby.
Many congratulations to all those who made it through to attend last night’s celebrations and well done all!
A memorable afternoon was enjoyed at Carlisle today when John Dixon, riding PISTOL for his trainer father John, defied a 14 lbs penalty earned only 12 days ago also at Carlisle when the winning partnership had scored by 26 lengths! Their determined front-running tactics paid dividends , successfully repelling the final flight challenge of odds-on favourite Maxie T to prevail by a length and a quarter. His trainer said “He’s been showing form all of the time and he loves this place. I put him in a better race to keep his weight down on this ground.”
PISTOL is owned by John’s mother Sheila and was led up by his two sisters who cheered on his exciting success in the Watch Racing UK Handicap Hurdle. “My mother Ella was the only one of us who missed it and she is 94! She’ll be the only one who’s backed him.” said John senior. “We have been at it a long time. My late father (also John) was a trainer and Carlisle was his lucky course. He still holds the record here for 8 wins with the same horse – The Last Light.” he added.
Many congratulations to winning connections on a truly remarkable achievement.
Huge congratulations to Brodie Hampson who fulfilled her ambition this afternoon to ride for her father and make her first ride in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup a winning one at Sandown, scoring on JENNYS SURPRISE trained by Fergal O’Brien.
Brodie looked well beaten turning into the home straight but the pair kept finding and rallied on the long run up the hill. Still five lengths down jumping the last, Brodie kept driving and the horse responded to her urgings to draw clear in the final stages.
This was an emotional and unforgettable victory for all connections with Brodie’s father Mark Hampson unwell. Mr Hampson served in 47 Regiment Royal Artillery for 23 years which allowed his daughter to participate.
Very many congratulations to winning connections on such a great day.
Huge congratulations to South Yorkshire’s Ryan Winks who enjoyed the biggest success of his career to date when winning the tote exacta Scottish Champion Chase today with CHESTNUT BEN for his trainer father Peter.
Got the Nac led the field at a furious gallop but as they entered the final straight his race was run and Chestnut Ben tracked The Grey Taylor. At this crucial stage in the race Ryan grabbed the rail on the 11-year-old and kept driving the horse to the line to score by 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Yorkist.
Ryan performed a flying dismount and, when Derek Thompson learned in his post-race interview that Ryan was a professional singer, asked Ryan to give the crowd a song.! Ryan happily obliged and give the crowd a rendition of “We Are The Champions”. “This is a big day” said Ryan. “It’s Scotland’s Champion Chase on Cheltenham Trials Day and we’ve won, I can’t believe it.”
Trainer Peter added “He’s in the form of his life, I knew he was. He ran well at Doncaster the other day but was a bit out of his depth – he still had horses rated in the 130s behind him, though. He wants a bit further than this really, but I could see there were plenty of front-runners who might set it up for him. This win means the world to a stable like ours, it’s our biggest win by a long way.”
Many congratulations to Amie Waugh on a great ride today at Wetherby when partnering 12 year old NEWYEARSRESOLUTION (who was 3 lbs out of the handicap) for her trainer father Simon, relentlessly galloping through the heavy ground to win with ease. Initially held up, NEWYEARSRESOLUTION took a keen hold and made steady headway to lead after the 5th, staying on relentlessly from 3 out and drawing clear to win by 5 lengths.
Many congratulations to 18 year old Hugo Hunt who enjoyed a dream start to his jump jockey career when winning the inaugural running of the Thames Materials Amateur Riders Handicap Chase at Ascot this afternoon with Johnny Og. This was Hugo’s first ride ever over fences but despite his relative inexperience the teenage jockey made the ride a wise one kicking his mount into a clear advantage before they turned into the straight. Now attached to Nicky Henderson’s for the past two months, Hugo previously rode for Andrew Balding and has enjoyed success under rules on the Flat.
Winning trainer Martin Keighley said “Nicky said he was a cracking little rider that just lacks experience. He promised me he would do the job and he has. He has ridden to orders as I said “If you can’t make it, sit handy and not to worry about pressing on early as he stays further.” He gave him a cracking ride.”
Hugo added “He just jumped and travelled the whole way round and answered my every call. He gets the trip very well and I was not afraid to be positive on him. It is what you always want to be doing riding around tracks like this on horses that travel so well, as it makes the job easier. Its early days still but I couldn’t have hoped for a better start.” Well done Hugo and all winning connections!
Our sincere thanks must go to Martin Clarke of Thames Materials for his generous sponsorship of this race which has provided such a spectacular start to Hugo’s jumping career.
NOTICE OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE AMATEUR JOCKEYS ASSOCIATION OF GREAT BRITAIN LIMITED
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the 2015 Annual General meeting of the AJA will be held on Tuesday 26th January 2016 at 12:00 noon at The Pheasant Inn, Ermin Street, Shefford Woodlands, Hungerford, Berkshire RG17 7AA when the following ordinary business will be considered:
– to receive apologies for absence
– to consider and if thought fit to approve and confirm the Minutes of the previous AGM and to authorise the President to sign them
– to receive and consider the report of the directors
– to receive and consider the report of the Chief Executive
– to receive and consider and if thought fit to pass a resolution adopting the accounts for twelve months ending 31 December 2014. The accounts are now completed and copies will be available at the AGM. Alternatively, on receipt of a stamped addressed envelope, copies will be sent to members on written request
– to consider and if thought fit to pass a resolution electing directors. (a) The following director retires at the AGM in accordance with Regulations 26.1 and 26.2 and offers himself for re-election: Richard Dunwoody (nominated by Philip Pritchard and seconded by Bob Davies ). Should any other person wish to stand for election as a director he or she is referred to the provisions of regulation 27.
– to re-appoint Dr L A Cotterill as auditors and to authorise the directors to fix their remuneration