A good day for amateur jockeys was enjoyed today with Jack Andrews enjoying his first winning ride against professionals when riding for Pam Sly at Market Rasen. With a strong head wind, none of the jockeys were keen to make the running and Jack was happy to lob along in the rear aboard BONNETS VINO. As they turned into the home straight for the final time, Jack started to make his move and the mare responded gamely, steadily wearing down the leaders to take it up after the last. However, it looked as if the game was over as TEN TREES and Paul Moloney regained the lead, but BONNETS VINO showed tremendous courage to battle back and just get up on the line to win by a short head. Well done Jack!
A memorable week was held in Abu Dhabi for the HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival with lady riders who have ridden in this year’s HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Arabian World Series attending the jockey conference: Carol Bartley, Serena Brotherton, Alyson Deniel, Joanna Mason, Alice Mills, Rebecca Smith, Anna Wallace and Catherine Walton. The week culminated in both the Apprentice and Lady Riders finales with GB represented in the ladies race by professional (ex-amateur) Alice Mills and by Catherine Walton, having won their respective races in Bahrain and Belgium earlier in the year.
Riding the favourite RB DIXIE BURNING trained by Eric Lemartinel, Catherine was able to ride with hands and heels only to win comfortably on the mare. Following her victory she said “She moved nicely and once she got to the front on the final bend she just pulled away.”
Many thanks to Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak and the driving force behind the Sheikh Mansoor Festival that is Lara Sawaya for providing such great race riding opportunities for our lady jockeys throughout the year. Thanks must also go to Pat Buckley and all at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club and Emirates Racing Authority for their help and support.
Many congratulations to Catherine who has only ridden Arabian horses for the first time this year – in Belgium and in Abu Dhabi – and won each time!
Many congratulations to Alex Edwards on winning the AJA Hurdle at Ludlow today when partnering MIDNIGHT TARGET for John Groucott.
Having said goodbye to the Flat season last weekend, the Amateur Flat Jockey Championships of 2016 are published in today’s Racing Post, although in fact our last ladies race was at Newbury on 21st October and our last race for amateur gentleman at Nottingham on Wednesday 2nd November.
You can be forgiven for a feeling of deja vu with Serena Brotherton once again crowned Champion Lady Amateur Jockey and Simon Walker Gemma Glover crowned Champion Gentleman Amateur Jockey for the umpteenth time! Both Champions enjoyed 7 wins this season apiece and we send them both very many congratulations.
Catherine Walton and Amie Waugh were next in line for the ladies’ title with 3 wins apiece, whilst Carol Bartley and Becky Smith enjoyed 2. Joanna Lucy Mason gave Serena an anxious mid-season battling to lead the tables but Serena forged ahead late on to take the season 2 wins clear of her nearest rival. Well done ladies on a great season, and congratulations to all lady riders who rode winners.
A new name emerged in the gentleman’s ranks with 16 year-old Bruce Lynn showing precocious talent and being rewarded with the runner-up slot in the Gentleman’s Championship with 4 wins, 1 ahead of Ross Birkett. Many congratulations to Simon and to Bruce and also of course to all gentlemen jockeys who rode winners this season.
Congratulations to 20 year old James King, attached to Neil Mulholland’s yard, who is enjoying a cracking season and already enjoying a battle for the amateur championship title alongside John Dawson who continues to play cat-and-mouse with him at the top of the tables. Currently James is maintaining his lead!
At Ludlow on 20th October James enjoyed another winner to add to his tally aboard FOREVER MY FRIEND for Peter Bowen in the EPDS Racing Partnerships Supporting Racing Welfare Handicap Chase.
This was a really authoritative performance with James jumping FOREVER MY FRIEND off from the first stride to take it up, maintaining his frontrunning position throughout the race and keeping nicely out of trouble, with plenty of carnage left in his wake. Following his success James said “He jumped very well. He’s a talented horse when he’s able to dictate like that and he gets his ground.” Well done James!
With the jump season now getting into full swing, congratulations to Josh Newman who enjoyed a winner at Exeter toda with THOMAS BLOSSOM in the ROA/Racing Post Amateur Handicap Hurdle, trained by Ali Sam Stronge.
Held up in the early stages, the partnership made headway to lead from 3 out and THOMAS BLOSSOM responded well for Josh to win by a length from HAHNENKAM and Laura Jenkins with ICE KONIG and Bryony Frost a further 2 lengths back in 3rd. Congratulations to winning connections and well done Josh off the mark for the season and his first winner for Ali Stronge!
Many congratulations to sixth former Jamie Perrett who enjoyed his first winner from only 5 rides when scoring in the last race of the season today at Windsor on Richard Hughes’s FAST PLAY. It was 4 years ago at the same meeting that Richard Hughes rode 7 winners from 8 races and it was great to see him give James such an important day of his own to remember.
BOB’S BOY under Will Pettis set a scorching pace, lit up by first time blinkers and led until the last 75 yards. Meanwhile FAST PLAY (also wearing first time blinkers) was at the rear of the field but ridden patiently by James under top weight. The partnership made steady progress to take 2nd place with hands and heels with a furlong to go, and managed to hold on well inside the final furlong even after veering violently to the far rails under the whip to win by 2 1/4 lengths.
Following his success James said “She has taken me over to the far rail to be fair, but if she can get hampered at the start and take me over to the far side and also win, she has plenty more to give. It probably helped me a little to be off the pace for a lot of the race.
James rides out regularly for Richard Hughes and said “I’m indebted to the Guv’nor for giving me this chance and also the owners. He is so good to ride out for and I’m very lucky.” Well done Jamie!
No sooner had Lisa O’Neill enjoyed her biggest career win to date when winning the Kerry National for Gordon Elliott with WRATH OF TITANS last month at Listowel than on her first visit to Stratford-upon-Avon today she rode a double!
Her first victory came in the toteexacta Selling Hurdle on SHAN DUN NA NGALL who led the small field of four approaching the last and won comfortably for Gordon Elliott. Lisa went on to complete her double in the concluding Lady Riders Handicap Hurdle on PRESENTING JULIO for Liam Lennon, always handy and pinging the last to score by 2 1/2 lengths. Well done Lisa!
The Amateur Jockeys Association 2016 AGM was held on Monday 10th October at which our President since 2010, Dr Philip Pritchard, retired and we welcomed our new President Bob Davies.
Bob is Club Secretary and General Manager at Ludlow Racecourse as well as AJA Company Secretary and Director. Bob was Champion Amateur Jockey before becoming Champion Professional and won the Grand National in 1978 on Lucius.
Huge thanks from us all to Philip who we are happy to say remains as Medical Consultant to the AJA and has been such a stalwart support to us all, not least to our injured jockeys, and we look forward to working with Bob in promoting and protecting amateur jockeys in the future.