Category: Jockey News

Fairyhouse host inaugural Ladies Chase



Thanks to the initiative of Peter Roe, General Manager of the home of the Irish Grand National, Fairyhouse Racecourse, today sees the inaugural running of a pro/am ladies chase: The Today FM Ladies Handicap Chase.

Ireland’s leading ladies Katie Walsh, Nina Carberry and Rachael Blackmore are amongst the jockeys taking part in the first all-female chase under Rules to be held in Ireland. GB is represented by amateur Lorna Brooke who rides 20/1 shot Monotone Lane and by conditional Lizzie Kelly.

Peter Roe said “We are delighted to have 12 runners declared for the first all-female chase under rules to be run in Ireland. It has exceeded our expectations. We are looking forward to an exciting race with the best lady jockeys from Ireland and Great Britain.”

Good luck ladies!

Joanna Mason caps off eventful year with Liverpool ROR Horse of Year



Huge congratulations to our joint lady Flat Champion Jockey Joanna Mason on many achievements this year, having recovered from breaking her back in 2 places and helped in her return to full fitness by her faithful steed 13-year-old retrained racehorse LIVERPOOL.


Not the best of racehorses, Liverpool was passed on to Jo’s father Ian by her grandfather Mick Easterby in 2010 and together the partnership have enjoyed hunting, showing, side saddle and show jumping.  Their crowning glory came on Monday night when Liverpool was crowned The Jockey Club RoR Horse of the Year at the Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket


Nina Carberry silences debate on lady jockeys with double at Cheltenham



With the recent suggestion by AP McCoy of the need for lady jockeys to be given a 3 lbs allowance because of their sex’s inferior strength, the argument was put to bed in fine style by Nina Carberry when riding a double at Cheltenham yesterday.

In customary fashion she won the cross country for Edna Bolger in brilliant style with JOSIES ORDERS.  She followed up in the Cheltenham Club Amateur Riders Chase on favourite KNOCK HOUSE for Mick Channon, denying James Slevin by a neck who was aboard OXBRIDGE for Nigel Twiston-Davies.  Meanwhile up North Catherine Walton won the hurdle at Hexham with NATIVE OPTIMIST.

Today produced further evidence of the strength in the ladies changing room.  Here in the UK Gina Andrews won the Mares’ Hurdle for Pam Sly at Wetherby whilst on her return home to Ireland Nina Carberry went on to win the Risk of Thunder Chase in a 16 runner field at Punchestown for Edna Bolger with QUANTITATIVEEASING!

Well done ladies!

Abu Dhabi hosts HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak World Series Finales


The finales of both the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Apprentice World Championship and the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship were held in Abu Dhabi on Sunday 8th November to round off  HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival’s Conference attended by all jockeys who had participated in both series during the year.

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Great Britain was represented during 2015 by apprentices Jack Gilligan (Kentucky) Rob Hornby (Sandown and Sao Paulo, Brazil), Aaron Jones (Kazan, Russia), Luke Leadbitter (Poland), Rowan Scott (Sacramento, USA), Sophie Killoran (Poland), Sophia Cox (France) and in the ladies series (includes both professionals and amateurs) by Anna Hesketh (Australia), Racheal Kneller (St Moritz), Ann Stokell (Stockholm), and  amateurs Jodie Hughes (Oman), Lorna Brooke (Bahrain and Poland), Becky Smith (Texas), Stefania Gandola (Lingfield), Alex Dunn (Netherlands), Hannah Watson (California) and Page Fuller (Belgium).


With all winning jockeys invited to ride in their respective finales, it was a proud moment to have 3 victorious ladies riding for Great Britain: Ann Stokell, Becky Smith and Page Fuller.  Sadly both Ann and Page finished down the field but Becky had a great run riding Haizoom for Festival patron Sheikh Mansoor, finishing 2nd to Switzerland’s professional Astrid Wullschleger.

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Many congratulations to Becky on such a successful outcome and huge thanks to Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, for providing so many unique racing experiences for all jockeys worldwide.


Stan Sheppard wins again at Ludlow


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.

Gentlemen’s Nottingham finale yields a championship title tie for Simon Walker with rising star Tom Greatrex


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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)

PHOTO by Paul Johns - 148747 - Berkshire College of Agriculture at Windsor Racecourse winner of 1st race sponsored by BCA Dreams of Glory with jockey Tom Greatrex (l)

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. tomdiv2


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.


Ladies Newbury finale concludes season with Yorkshire’s leading ladies Serena and Joanna in top spot


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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!


Michelle Edden wins ATR Ride of the Month


CNLonmYWUAEGARwMany 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!


Jump jockey John Dawson enjoys first Flat win with first Flat ride




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!

Serena’s Continental Weekend



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!