Category: General News

Tragedy in Pisa


Today is truly a tragic day for amateur jockeys worldwide.

In addition to the devastating loss of Keagan Kirkby at Charing point-to-point this afternoon which will be keenly felt across the point-to-point fraternity, we have also lost Dominik Pastuszka today. A friend to our amateur riders who venture abroad, Dominik was a 35-year-old Polish amateur jockey based in Italy who succumbed to his injuries following a bad fall at Pisa on Thursday.

We send our heartfelt condolences to Dominik’s family and friends and to the Italian Amateur Club on this great loss. May he Rest In Peace. 🙏🙏

Point-to-point tragedy at Charing


We are greatly saddened to have to share the devastating news that Keagan Kirkby lost his life today when riding in the point-to-point at Charing.

We send our deepest condolences to Keagan’s family and to all the team at Ditcheat where he played such an integral part and was held in the highest regard.

We are thinking of all those who mourn this tragic loss and our hearts go out to them.

God bless you Keagan. Rest In Peace. 🙏🙏🙏

Statement from the IJF:

“It is with deep sadness that we have to report that West Country point-to-point rider, Keagan Kirkby, 25, has died following a fall at Charing point-to-point in Kent today.

His horse, trained locally, ran out through the wing of a fence on the second circuit of the final race. The on course Medical Team attended immediately and despite additional support from a 999 Helicopter Emergency Services Crew, he could not be saved.

Keagan was a respected member of the Paul Nicholls team, who joined in 2019 and who had been awarded employee of the month in December 2021. He was shortlisted for the Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards in the Rider / Groom category 2024.

We kindly ask that everyone respects the privacy of Keagan’s family and the team at Paul Nicholls Racing at this tragic time.”

AJA AGM 2022




NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the 2022 Annual General meeting of the AJA will be held on  Tuesday 16 January 2024 at 12 noon at The Terrace Room, The Welcombe Hotel, Warwick Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 0NR when the following ordinary business will be considered:

  1. to receive apologies for absence
  2. to consider and if thought fit to approve and confirm the Minutes of the previous AGM and to authorise the President to sign them
  3. to receive and consider the report of the directors
  4. to receive and consider the report of the Chief Executive
  5. to receive and consider and if thought fit to pass a resolution adopting the accounts for twelve months ending 31 December 2022.  The accounts are completed and copies will be available at the AGM.  
  6. The following director retires at the AGM in accordance with Regulations 26.1 and 26.2 and offers herself for re-election:   Anthea Leigh (nominated by Bob Davies and seconded by Fiona Needham).
  7. to re-appoint Andrew Winterburn Chartered Accountants as auditors and to authorise the directors to fix their remuneration

Dated:  2 January 2024 

By order of the board



From Tuesday 11 January, everyone entering the Weighing Room complex on a raceday will be required to present on arrival evidence of a negative Lateral Flow Test (LFT).

As confirmed previously, the intention of racing’s industry COVID-19 Group was to introduce testing at the earliest possible opportunity, with a temporary pause agreed to enable participants to secure a supply of tests. 

With reports of improvement in the supply of LFTs, regular testing will come into effect from Tuesday. We will continue to monitor the availability of tests and keep you updated as to any further adjustments to the requirements should they be necessary. 

Everyone planning to attend fixtures from Tuesday 11 January should ensure that they: 

  1. Continue to order LFTs here;
  2. Download the NHS App here;
  3. Complete the LFT before you leave to go racing; please do not come racing without a negative LFT.
  4. Upload your LFT result here;
  5. On arrival show any of the following as evidence of a negative test: Text reporting a negative test; Email reporting a negative test; NHS App COVID Pass Data;
  6. If you test positive, isolate and follow instructions here.

The LFT should be completed on each day of racing before travelling, with Weighing Room attendees required to demonstrate the negative LFT either via the NHS App, or an NHS text message or email address confirming the result. A photograph of a test will not be accepted, nor will the actual test kit.

Any person who does not have a valid negative LFT result will be refused entry to the Weighing Room. LFT kits will not routinely be available on-site, so those planning to enter the Weighing Room are advised to complete the test before departing for the racecourse. 

We would also recommend maintaining a small number of unused LFTs in your car as a contingency measure, should you or a colleague arrive at the racecourse without evidence of a negative test.  

COVID-19 cases remain high across the country, with positive cases also having been identified within the racing industry and amongst Weighing Room personnel – resulting in self-isolation and absence from work.  

Regular testing in racing will add a further layer of protection for our business-critical personnel and protect the health and availability of everyone in the Weighing Room. Vaccination also remains an essential part of the protection against COVID-19 and you can book an appointment here.

Thank you, as ever, for your continued efforts to keep your Weighing Room colleagues safe.

Programme update


Please note the following updates to the amateur programme:

27th October at Nottingham: Gentleman Jockeys only: Finale

3rd November at Nottingham: Lady Jockeys only: Finale

Revised Race Programme now listed for Sept to Dec


Please refer to for the latest version of races for September through to the end of 2021. Please be prepared for further tweaks and possible additions as work continues on this.

Please note:

  • 4th October Windsor race moved to Lingfield on 2nd November
  • 18th October Windsor race moved to Bath on same date;

Additional All-Weather races:

  • 9th November Newcastle
  • 25th November Wolverhampton
  • 9th December Chelmsford

Many thanks to all Clerks of Courses involved for their help and co-operation in accommodating these races together with the loyal support from BHA Race Planning.

A tribute to Lorna


Lorna was blessed with a vivacious, bubbly personality and her smile always lit up the racecourse wherever she went.  Many of us are familiar with Lorna’s presence over many years not only on the racecourse but also point-to-pointing which was Lorna’s passion.  Based within the Welsh Borders, Lorna travelled far and wide.

Lorna’s first introduction to race riding abroad took place in 2010 when she accepted the AJA invitation to ride in the Anglo/Irish lady jockeys’ challenge at Limerick for Team GB with Lucy Alexander, Alex Dunn, Joanna Mason and Emma Sayer.  Lorna was a gallant 2nd to Alex’s winner that day but the return match held at Newton Abbot in 2011 saw Lorna enjoy her first winner over hurdles aboard Dashing Doc for Evan Williams winning by 9 lengths from Ireland’s Aine O’Connor with Rachael Blackmore 3rd.

One of Lorna’s most memorable wins which she saw as a highlight of her career was in 2011 at the North Shropshire point-to-point when one of her reins snapped whilst riding Kalmo Bay in the Ladies Open. Despite this, she continued to ride with only one rein, the other broken rein flapping whilst she jumped several fences before somehow retrieving it and going on to win the race! Quite some achievement and one that displayed what a superb horsewoman she was.

Lorna was selected again by the AJA to represent Great Britain at Fairyhouse in 2015 where Peter Roe’s initiative of the inaugural Ladies’ Chase enabled her to enjoy the biggest win of her career under rules.  She enjoyed a great victory for Paul Stafford aboard Moonlone Lane (winning for the first time) with the placed riders being no less than Katie Walsh (2nd), Lizzie Kelly (3rd) and Rachael Blackmore (4th).   Lorna teamed up again with the horse in his next run at Musselburgh riding against professionals to enjoy back-to-back wins.

Lorna was the perfect diplomat for racing and could always be relied upon, with her sunny nature and modest disposition.  She represented GB in Arabian racing, riding both in Bahrain and Poland in 2015 as part of the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Series and enjoyed its finale in Abu Dhabi.  She also represented GB alongside Jodie Hughes riding in Mauritius in 2018 and again in 2019 when riding on two separate occasions as part of a team of GB lady riders on the flat in Germany.  Her unfailing smile allowed Lorna to make friends wherever she went.

In 2011, following the career ending fall sustained by Champion Amateur Isabel Tompsett at Fakenham, Lorna joined forces with fellow amateur jockey Jane Williams to complete a 907 mile cycle ride from John O’Groats to Lands End in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund.  Incredibly the pair reached their destination in only 8 and a half days with just two punctures and raised an amazing £25,000 in the process.

Lorna’s thirst for racing was unquenchable; she embodied everything there is to love about jump racing.  Lorna enjoyed 17 winners under rules over the last 20 years as well as some 40 point-to-point winners, carrying her mother’s orange and brown colours to victory many times.  Her loss is very keenly felt in the weighing room and beyond. We extend our heartfelt condolences to her family and her very many friends.  One thing is for certain and that is that Lorna will never be forgotten.

Racing mourns the loss of Lorna Brooke


We are absolutely devastated to have to share with you the tragic news of the death of Lorna Brooke. A hugely experienced amateur jockey who loved point-to-pointing as well as regularly riding under rules, Lorna’s loss will be felt far and wide.

We send our very deepest condolences to Lorna’s family as well as to so many friends who mourn. Huge thanks must go to the medics who have cared for Lorna over the past 10 days as well as the support of the Injured Jockeys Fund.

A private funeral will be held and a date for a celebration of Lorna’s life will be announced in the future when covid restrictions allow.

God bless you Lorna. We will never forget you. Rest in Peace. xx

Amateurs look forward to Aintree Foxhunters


Many thanks to all involved at the BHA and Aintree Racecourse for their assistance working together to ensure that amateur jockeys can look forward to returning to Aintree for the Foxhunters – we cannot wait!

BHA announces changes to race conditions for amateurs hoping to ride in the Foxhunters’ Steeple Chase at Aintree

  • Category B Amateurs must have ridden in a Chase or Hurdle contest in Britain or Ireland at least once between 1 November 2020 and 5 April 2021 to compete in Aintree Foxhunters’
  • Additional races scheduled to increase opportunities for those affected

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today confirmed an alteration to the conditions of the Rose Paterson Randox Foxhunters’ Steeple Chase at Aintree on Thursday 8 April 2021 that will restrict eligibility to Category B Amateurs who have ridden in at least one steeple chase or hurdle race under the Rules of Racing and/or the Rules of Irish NH Committee between 1 November 2020 and 5 April 2021 inclusive.

Amateur riders will be permitted to return to race riding in England in line with the return of amateur sports, set out as part of the UK Government’s plan for the lifting of lockdown restrictions in England in the coming weeks and months. At this stage, this will happen no earlier than Monday 29 March.

The BHA has taken part in discussions with representatives of Aintree Racecourse and the Amateur Jockeys Association, where concerns were raised about the proximity of a potential return of amateur sport and the Rose Paterson Randox Foxhunters’ Steeple Chase. It has therefore been decided that the new minimum number of rides should be introduced for this year’s race, with an additional race scheduled at each of the following meetings to increase the opportunities available to meet the criteria:

Uttoxeter – 1 April

Carlisle – 3 April

Market Rasen – 4 April

Chepstow – 5 April

The Jockey Club’s Regional Head of Racing – North West and Aintree Racecourse Clerk of the Course, Sulekha Varma, said: “The Rose Paterson Randox Foxhunters’ Steeple Chase is one of the pinnacles of the Amateur Jockeys’ season and I am thrilled that we look set to have Amateur Jockeys back on course for the race in 2021.

“We are sympathetic to the challenging year that Amateur Jockeys in Britain have had and, with the considerable hiatus in their normal season of both Point-to-Points and racing under rules, we are keen to ensure that all jockeys are ready to take on the Grand National Fences in April. I hope that all Amateur Jockeys wishing to ride at Aintree will do their best to make use of the additional opportunities provided between 29 March and 5 April.”

January All-Weather amateur races revert to professionals


Please note the following confirmation from the BHA regarding amateur Flat All-Weather fixtures programmed for Southwell (19th) and Lingfield (29th):

“Following the latest government guidance around the continuation of elite sport during lockdown, it has been necessary to amend the conditions of race number 60285 THE HEED YOUR HUNCH AT BETWAY HANDICAP STAKES (CLASS 6) at Southwell on 19 January and 60434 THE PLAY 4 TO SCORE AT BETWAY HANDICAP STAKES (CLASS 6) at Lingfield on 29 January.

“Government guidance only permits elite professional sport under these conditions, so these races will revert to professional jockeys only.

“Further announcements regarding future Flat Amateur Jockeys’ races will be made once the restrictions have been reviewed by government in due course.”