Meanwhile the gentlemen are having their own interesting end to the Flat season. Pat Millman’s firm grip on the lead position was tightened with a fine double at Beverley at the end of September, taking his seasonal tally to 6, well clear of his rivals.
The only other lads to score more than a single win from the 24 times that gentlemen riders have graced the winner’s enclosure this season have been Jamie Brace (2 wins thanks to TAKE TWO) and perennial champion Simon Walker (having a quieter season than usual for him) with 3 wins so far.
Ben James joined Simon on 3 wins when enjoying a thrilling victory at Windsor last Monday by a short head aboard John Bridger’s BETSALOTTIE, denying Ross Birkett with Jamie Codd a length away back in 3rd. Ben followed this up at Leicester this Monday when partnering CHAMPAGNE BOB for Richard Price to make late headway 2 furlongs from home and storm home to head Simon Walker aboard MY GIRL MAISIE inside the final furlong and win by 2 1/2 lengths. This dramatic result took Ben into runner-up slot with 4 wins, and with 2 remaining races, the final mixed tomorrow at Nottingham and the last men’s race of the season at Nottingham in a week’s time, you can be sure Ben will have Pat in his sights!
Good luck lads!
The end of the Flat season is always an interesting time for reflection and celebration of our amateur championships, but the build-up of the current season’s ladies campaign is proving to be unusually gripping this year right to the wire!
Redcar’s divided ladies’ race last week saw Serena Brotherton take the first division aboard RESTIVE for Iain Jardine which took her to top of the tables alongside Joanna Mason, both on 5 wins each. Having shared this championship 2 seasons ago when both ladies ended the season with 6 wins, will this be repeated? Not necessarily whilst they have so many talented top riders on their heels and now with just 2 races to go!
The second division of the afternoon at Redcar was won by a short head by 16 year old Ella Mccain on Richard Fahey’s INGLEBY SPRING to deny Emily Bullock in a photo finish with Joanna Mason 3rd. This was Ella’s 2nd win of the week, having won the mixed race at Musselburgh just 4 days earlier on her father’s TAWSEEF, and elevated her to runner-up slot alongside Carol Bartley, both now on 4 wins, with Abbie Mccain and Jessica Cooley on 3.
Yesterday’s mixed race at Doncaster was eagerly anticipated by most of this cast and it was Ian Williams’ TOMAHAWK KID who provided Abbie Mccain with her 4th winner of the season to join sister Ella and Carol Bartley in the runner-up slot for the championship!
The story continues in the last at Newbury this afternoon where the final ladies race of the season takes place (Serena, Ella, Jo and Jess all have rides) but we have to wait until the last mixed race of the season at Nottingham next Wednesday 1st November before finally celebrating our 2017 Lady Flat Championship!
Good luck all!
Huge thanks to Kit Wu of Wuhan Jockey Club for inviting us to send a representative from the UK to ride in China this week in their International Invitational race.
Well done to Jay Kendrick for being selected to represent Great Britain and doing an excellent job for us in this ambassadorial role. James is amateur jockey to Roger Charlton at Beckhampton and has enjoyed a winner under Rules as well as an Arabian win.
James thoroughly enjoyed taking part in yesterday’s race and, although his horse was a little too slow to be placed, this was a great and unique experience for him and we really appreciate the kind hospitality of our friends in China.
Cheltenham Racecourse announces today a change to entry conditions for amateur riders taking part in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase and the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase races at The Festival in March.
From 2018 onwards, in line with the G2 National Hunt Chase, these two amateur races will be restricted to those holding a Category B Permit.
Amateur jockeys holding a Category B Permit require at least 15 completed rides under the Rules of Racing, the majority of which must have come over obstacles or at least 20 completed rides in Point-to-Points and/or under the Rules of Racing.
Holders of an equivalent permit from a recognised overseas racing authority will also be eligible to ride at The Festival (for example, a Category C Permit issued in Ireland will be valid).
In 2017, all those riding in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase held a Category B amateur rider permit and just four of the 23 riders having a Category A licence for the St James’ Place Foxhunter Chase.
Simon Claisse, Regional Head of Racing, South West & Clerk of the Course at Cheltenham, commented: “The Festival is the best four days of Jump racing in the calendar and has grown into an event which receives worldwide attention.
“An important and historic dimension to The Festival is the provision of races for amateur riders alongside those for professionals. We are proud of this tradition, which goes all the way back to the foundation of Jump racing.
“This change to the entry conditions for amateur riders will ensure that all competitors have appropriate experience over fences to compete at this level and also by announcing this change now it gives jockeys enough time to qualify for their Category B licence.”
Sarah Oliver, CEO of the Amateur Jockeys Association, declared: “It is welcome news to the Amateur Jockeys Association concerning this change in race conditions for the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase and the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase.
“These showcase races are anticipated from one season to the next by the amateur fraternity and it is only right that the race conditions should reflect the prestige of them. Thank you Cheltenham!”
Nick Sutton, Acting Chairman of the Point-to-Point Authority, added: “The St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase is one of the most prominent races for amateurs in the sport.
“The competitive nature of the race, plus the additional pressures of a 70,000 crowd and TV coverage, make it only an appropriate contest for experienced riders who hold a Category B licence.”
Jamie Stier, Chief Regulatory Officer for the British Horseracing Authority, said: “The Cheltenham Festival is the pinnacle of the Jump season, and each year the interest and scrutiny on all of the races run at the meeting grows.
“The changes to entry conditions for amateur riders announced today have the full support of the BHA and will ensure that only the very best-qualified amateur jockeys take part in what are thorough tests for both horse and rider.
“While we understand that this will impact current category A permit holders, the sport must always look at ways it can improve safety and welfare for our participants and our horses.
“Any riders currently holding a category A permit who wish to enquire about gaining a category B permit should contact the BHA Licensing team as a matter of priority.”
Read more at http://cheltenham.thejockeyclub.co.uk/more-information/news/amateur-riders-at-the-festival#WuUmLYvosTlz6HjW.99
Huge congrats to leading amateur Zac Baker on a great victory today when winning the Ladbrokes Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las with The New One for boss Nigel Twiston Davies!
A great achievement and a top ride!
Well done to Freddie Tett who survived what can only be described as absolute carnage including a slipping saddle when riding in the cross country race at Nuilly sur Vicoin in France and enjoying victory earlier this month!
The video tells the story and this was a first victory for a UK gentleman rider over this demanding course.
A previous visit to Nuilly sur Vicoin took place in 2007 thanks to the kind invitation of Jeremy Mahot when Polly Gundry became the first lady jump jockey to ride around and complete the course and Clairey Bonner went on to win there that weekend. Dickie Barrett and Alex Merriam also took part and the memories of their negotiations over the river still remain fresh!