This year has already been a busy one for international lady jockeys (both amateur and professional) thanks to the generosity of the Sheikh Mansoor Racing Festival which encompasses the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship. It is run under the director of Ms Lara Sawaya and Great Britain have been privileged to have received invitations for all five races so far for 2016 beginning in Oman (Aly Deniel) 15th January, Australia (Serena Brotherton) 26th January, Switzerland (professional Ann Stokell) 21st February, Texas (Joanna Mason) 5th March and Bahrain (professional Alice Mills) on Cheltenham Gold Cup day, 18th March.
All of the girls have enjoyed fabulous trips but a winning ride seemed illusive for anyone, although Jo coming frustratingly close in Texas when beaten in a three-way photo finish into 2nd place in the shortest of short heads! (below)
Happily our luck changed when Alice Mills was successful in another tight finish for Great Britain in Bahrain! (below)
This is a huge achievement as it ensures Alice a place in the finale of the ladies series which will be held in Abu Dhabi on 6th November. Many congratulations to Alice, particularly as this winning ride came as a comeback ride after Alice was shaken up following a couple of race riding falls in quick succession recently.
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.
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.
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.
Many congratulations to Zac Baker who enjoyed his first success with his first ride abroad yesterday when riding in a FEGENTRI Chase in Mannheim, Germany.
With a total of 5 declarations on Thursday but an apparent chronic shortage of jump jockeys within the international amateur federation (which GB left at the end of 2014), only Czech Republic and France had representatives riding at that stage. Drastic measures were therefore taken by the host nation and last year’s GB representative Freddy Tett was invited to ride there along with compatriot amateur jockeys Page Fuller and Zac Baker.
7 horses actually ended up going to post yesterday. Well done to Zac on a great victory for GB under rather bizarre circumstances!
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!
Congratulations to Phil Collington in the Channel Isles at Les Landes, Jersey today when winning the Clarendon Trophy – the feature race of the afternoon – over a mile and a half, partnering AUSSIE LYRICS.
After a frustratingly slow start to the summer having broken his ankle riding out, this was a well deserved success for Phil, one of our most talented Flat amateur jockeys who enjoys considerable success Arab racing when not riding under Rules. Jersey has provided winning rides for other amateurs too this summer, with Freddy Tett enjoying no less than 8 and Ross Birkett winning the inaugural AJA sponsored amateur race there in July. In addition ex-amateur Alice Mills enjoyed her first win as a professional jockey there this summer. Many congratulations to all!
Thanks to the generous joint sponsorship of Dandy Properties Ltd and Crespel Properties, Jersey Raceclub programmed an additional race to their usual 5 race card on Sunday 12th July at Les Landes, that being the AJA Handicap for amateur riders. Fortunately the rain that greeted racegoers soon cleared to give a sunny afternoon with the moisture taking the sting out of the ground.
Five runners went to post representing 3 nations: France (Jean Philippe Boisgontier and Melissa Boisgontier), Jersey (Frank Fairchild) and the UK (Phillip Collington and Ross Birkett).
Ross rode in a hurdle race earlier in the afternoon to familiarise himself with the racecourse – the first time he had taken part in a jumps race for 6 years!
It paid dividends in arguably the best finish of the day which saw victory for Ross aboard Neil Mulholland’s MRS BURBIDGE. Many thanks to our generous sponsors for this unique opportunity for amateurs to race in the Channel Isles and well done to winning connections.
Earlier in the afternoon Freddie Tett enjoyed a winner against professionals when partnering outsider LUCIFERS SHADOW for Mrs Gilbert.
Having been instrumental in organising the sponsorship of the AJA race but without a ride, this result felt well deserved. Apart from winning rides in France this summer, Freddie has also kept himself busy riding in Jersey and currently lies 4th in the Channel Isles Champion Jockey tables with 4 wins from 14 rides.
Jersey is a unique place for jockeys to gain race riding experience and is the only place within the British Isles where amateur jockeys can ride against professionals not only over hurdles but also on the Flat. There is also above average prize money and we hope that this year’s AJA race can be built upon with strong support from both France and the UK and become a permanent fixture within the amateur calendar.
Although GB left Fegentri at the end of 2014, Norway were short on gentlemen jockeys for their Fegentri race on 25th June at Ovrevoll and invited the AJA to send along a British representative. Charlie Deutsch (colours: pink, blue stars) was pleased to accept and had a great trip, finishing 3rd. Well done Charlie! Many thanks to Helene Maxwell-Hauge, President of NOARK (Norwegian Club of Amateur Riders) for her club’s kind hospitality which was greatly appreciated.
For any amateur jockey who has never visited the Channel Isles, an ideal opportunity now exists within our racing calendar! Sunday 12th July is Champion Hurdle Day at Les Landes and includes the AJA’s inaugural running of a 1m 2f flat handicap for 3 year olds and up rated 0-65. The race will be the 5th race on the card at 5:10 pm. We need trainer support for this race with limited horses available on the island so please persuade your trainer to enter and spread the word!
Les Landes is a popular racecourse with many English jockeys including amateur Freddy Tett who rode 6 winners there last summer and has already enjoyed a double there last weekend. Serena Brotherton also travelled over with City Ground last summer to provide Mick Easterby with his first-ever winner in Jersey.
For further details which include a travel allowance please contact Charlotte Francis at The Jersey Race Club tel: 01534 864136 or mob: 07829 863484.
2015 has gone well so far for Great Britain in this wonderful worldwide series. JODIE HUGHES represented GB in the first race of 2015 held at Al Flaij Racecourse, Muscat,Oman on 16th January and loved her first experience of Arabian racing, finishing 2nd.
A British professional lady jockey was invited for the next race in Sportingbet Park, Melbourne, Australia, on 26th January and former amateur ANNA HESKETH rode for GB, finishing 5th.
St Moritz, Switzerland followed on 22nd February with an all-professional cast and former amateur RACHEAL KNELLER represented GB and was unlucky to be just beaten into 2nd place.
Sam Houston Park, Texas,USA then beckoned on 7th March for BECKY SMITH who rode a thrilling race to WIN for Great Britain! WELL DONE BECKY!
Watch the replay here:
LORNA BROOKE then represented GB in Manama,Bahrain on 13th March but sadly her horse reared and dropped her on leaving the stalls. (The horse has since been deemed unsuitable for racing.)
No GB invitation was issued for Morocco or France in April but we are delighted to have received an invitation for our own national race at Lingfield Park on 9th May. Meanwhile, the HH Sheikh Mansoor Darley Awards were presented in Hollywood California on 4th April and ARO’s reigning champion lady Arab jockey STEFANIA GANDOLA was awarded the 2014 jockey’s Darley award. Many congratulations to Stef and we are delighted that she will represent Great Britain at Lingfield. Good luck Stef!