Month: March 2012



Italy hosted the first of 2012’s World Cup of Nations races in Pisa on Sunday 25th March.  Great Britain was represented by Patrick Millman and Joshua Hodson.  Congratulations to Patrick who was the leading foreign rider finishing 4th and Joshua finished 7th.  The next leg of the FWCN series is in Maisons-Laffitte in May.




Many congratulations on a fantastically patient ride by Colman Sweeney today when he came literally from last to first to take the Christie’s Foxhunter Chase in fine style on SALSIFY owned by his mother and trained by his father.

The partnership were content to lie 20 lengths off the pace in the early stages and waited well into the home straight before Colman even thought about delivering his challenge.

After the race Colman said “I’ll take any ban they want to give me! I was 13 stone 10 lbs in December but the family and the wife put some huge pressure on me to lose it so that I could ride this fella and I’m glad I did – this is such a sweet win.”



img_7520_2.jpgThe third day of the Festival concluded on a high with the 3rd running of the charity race in aid of Cancer Research UK and an emotional win so soon after the loss to racing of legendary jockey and trainer Josh Gifford, with his daughter Tina Cook riding Pascha Bere to storm up the hill from nowhere and win with ease!

12 jockeys took part in what has now become a hugely oversubscribed event that has raised over £400,000 since it was first run in 2010 and has raised over half as much again this year.  Other jockeys taking part were Trainer’s wife Candida Baker, ATR presenter Gina Bryce, Welsh opera singer and tv personality Shan Cothi, Irish Field journalist Niall Cronin, RUK presenter Niall Hannity (who lost over 3 stone to participate!), scrap metal specialist James Hughes, Cancer nurse Lindsey Hunting, Trainer’s daughter and sister Jo McCain, Coolmore Stud’s assistant Wendy Normile, local trainer’s wife Jelly O’Brien and Greater Manchester firefighter Stuart Parr.

If you would like to support this event, please visit and donate now!

Photo credit: AJA



Many congratulations to ALAN BERRY who excelled at Cheltenham today riding SUNNYHILLBOY for his guv’nor Jonjo O’Neill and owner JP MacManus, seen to good effect from a long way out and winning by over 4 lengths from BECAUSEICOUDNTSEE who had disputed the early running whilst the eventual winner settled in midfield. BECAUSEICOUDNTSEE led over the second last but was chased by EXMOOR RANGER and SUNNYHILLBOY who ran on gamely, finding an extra gear to forge clear inside the final furlong for a thrilling finish.

Local winning trainer Jonjo O’Neill said “He’s a brilliant little horse and loves the course.  He’s brilliant for the yard and is a real tough honest horse.  Alan’s ridden a few Festival winners, he’s a great lad and a big part of the team and he did all the work on Don’t Push It before he won the National.”

Alan said “He’s a genuine horse and he deserves a race like that, he’s done nothing wrong but you can only be so confident coming to Cheltenham.  He’s a horse I ride at home all of the time.  He impresses in everything that he does but he’s getting a bit older and a bit slower.”



Many congratulations to JT McNamara on winning the first at Cheltenham today, The Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Chase on Welsh trainer Rebecca Curtis’s TEAFORTHREE, staying on strongly to beat HARRY THE VIKING in a thrilling finish with FOUR COMMANDERS third and OUR VICTORIA fourth.

After the race, Rebecca Curtis said of her first Festival winner  “Its very special.  It wasn’t the plan to make the running but he was there and we knew he stays and jumps.  Its great just to have a runner here let alone a winner.”  JT said “He was brilliant.  He never missed a beat and its great to ride a winner here.”



The Fegentri General Assembly and Gala Dinner was held in Doha, Qatar on 27th February with a men’s race on 28th February and ladies races on 29th February and 1st March, giving Great Britain’s 2012 Fegentri representatives Mikey Ennis and Hayley Moore their first Fegentri racing opportunities abroad.

Nico de Boinville was unable to attend the Gala Dinner with Cheltenham Festival so close and his charges at Nicky Henderson’s being not only Gold Cup favourite Long Run but also Sprinter Sacre.  Nico was represented by AJA President Dr Philip Pritchard who collected his bronze spur for 3rd place in the Fegentri Men’s Jump Championship 2011 from Fegentri President Nathalie Belinguier.  Many congratulations to Nico!  Rachel King was unlucky to just miss out on 3rd place last year.


Dr Philip Pritchard, President of the AJA, received the bronze spur on behalf of Nico de Boinville from Nathalie Belinguier, President of Fegentri 


Mikey Ennis in the paddock at Doha


Hayley Moore in the paddock at Doha

Injuries and Insurance


A nasty fall yesterday at Catterick when Russell Lindsay’s mount fell and kicked him in the face fully tested the strength of his gum shield which took the full force.  It was only when Russell went to take his shield out that he felt his teeth move and so he kept it in place.  This (hopefully) saved him losing 4 of his 6 front teeth instantly!

Don’t forget that as an AJA member you are insured at all times, whether riding out, point-to-pointing or race riding.  If you sustain an injury, contact the AJA for a claim form and advice.  Here’s a reminder of the system:

1 Injuries sustained whilst riding out (worldwide):  If AJA member and not a member of permanent trainer’s staff (therefore covered by RIABS) you are covered by AJA insurance. Currently no payment for first 35 days then £150 per week (revised annually 1st July).  (AJA members do not have to be licensed jockeys.) No cover in place for permanent disability or dentistry; benefit simply for temporary disability up to 104 weeks.  (Policy in place via Windsor Insurance.)  Members who qualify for RIABS are asked to claim on RIABS and not on AJA insurance in a bid to keep AJA premiums/membership fees to a minimum. AJA membership currently £85 for full 12 months.  Contact AJA for claim form. (It is not compulsory for an amateur jockey to be an AJA member if only riding against professionals, in hunter chases or in military races – but it pays to be a member!)

2 Injuries sustained whilst point-to-pointing: Covered by P2P licence. Insured for permanent and temporary disability up to 104 weeks. Weekly benefits currently £210 after first 28 days off. Contact Windsor Insurance direct for claim form: Mr Adrian Miller, Windsor Partners Ltd, 71 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 4BS T: 02071331200 e: or The Point-To-Point Authority, 11 Trull Farm Buildings, Trull Farm, Tetbury, Glos GL8 8SQ Contact: Katy Arinc T: 01285841920 e: e:

3 Accidents whilst riding under rules: Covered by amateur licence.  Insured for permanent and temporary disability up to 104 weeks. Weekly benefits currently £250 after first 28 days off + £50 per night for overnight in hospital. Other benefits also in place such as for dependants, extra domestic costs etc. including private medical costs if NHS not providing necessary treatment. Claim form available from AJA.

Emma Sayer wins Hands & Heels at Carlisle


Well done to Emma Sayer victorious for her trainer mother Dianne today at Carlisle in the Hands & Heels 16 runner hurdle, taking it up from 3 out and going on to win by 15 lengths on 16/1 MARKADAM!




Recommended reading for ALL jockeys!!

The revised whip rule guidelines come into effect on Tuesday 6th March, giving Stewards exactly a week before the start of Cheltenham Festival to practice the use of discretion rather than give an automatic ban to jockeys in breach.

The Stewards should consider holding an enquiry if a rider has:

  1. used his/her whip 8 times or more in a Flat race or 9 times or more in a Jump race;
  2. mis-used his/her whip taking into consideration the guidelines on pages 28 and 29 (see below).

When deciding whether or not to hold an enquiry, Stewards should consider how the rider has used the whip during the course of the entire race, with particular attention to its use in the closing stages and relevant factors such as:

  • The manner in which the whip was used, including degree of force;
  • The purpose for which the whip was used;
  • The distance over which the whip was used and whether the number of times it was used was reasonable and necessary;
  • Whether the horse was continuing to respond.

Full details can be found here:  extracts-from-guide-to-penalties-and-procedures.pdf