Pony racing showcases talent with launch of 2016 Charles Owen Racecourse Series

The crème de la crème of pony racing will be competing for top spot when the first fixture in the Charles Owen Racecourse Series takes place at Kempton Racecourse on 26 March 2016.

Sponsored by global brand Charles Owen since 2005, the Racecourse Series is the showcase for pony racing talent.  Ponies and riders have to be qualified to compete, and combinations accumulating the most points across the series are eligible to race at the Charles Owen Racecourse Series Finals held on Cheltenham Racecourse on 22 October 2016.

Clarissa Daly, chief executive of the sports governing body the Pony Racing Authority (PRA), said: “The Charles Owen Racecourse Series is as close as it gets to ‘the real thing’, attracting young jockeys who have come through a number of different routes, such as point-to-point pony racing and Pony Club race days, as well as having completed specialist training to ensure they are ready, fit and safe to ride at this elite level.”

“As far as possible, we try to mirror the professional racing experience so that these young riders have a real insight and understanding into the way the professional sport operates. As well as giving them the thrill of a lifetime out on the racecourse, we aim to give riders a strong platform for going into the racing industry, perhaps as an apprentice jockey or into one of the many career paths that racing offers.”

Finals October 2015 at Aintree Racecourse
148cm Finals October 2015 at Aintree Racecourse
Push The Button (Sophie Smith) wins the 138cm & under, Aintree October 2015
Push The Button ridden by Sophie Smith, winner 138cm Finals 2015 at Aintree

Widening participation in pony racing is top priority, as Clarissa explained: “To encourage children onto the Racecourse Series, we are adding three Conditions races which are open to children or ponies who have not been placed (1st – 4th) in a Charles Owen Final in the last two years. This leads up to a Conditions’ Finals at York Racecourse on 4 September. It was so popular when we introduced the format last year – to encourage children to make the step up from point-to-point pony racing – that we’re doing it again!”

Roy Burek, managing director for Charles Owen, said: “We are proud to be sponsoring the Racecourse Series – the top flight of pony racing in Britain – for the eleventh year running. It’s fantastic to see the dedication and passion in these young riders, and the partnership they create with their ponies, to perform at this level. We’re looking forward to an exciting season building up to a highly-competitive final at Cheltenham in October.”

Clarissa Daly added: “Charles Owen’s investment in the sport has been significant and without their steadfast commitment for more than ten years, many of the opportunities today through pony racing would simply not be possible.”

York Prizegiving
Presentation, Conditions Final 2015 at York Racecourse


Charles Owen, sponsors Racecourse Series 2016

2016 Charles Owen Racecourse Series fixtures: 


26 March                     Kempton

30 March                     Exeter

17 April                        Wincanton

13 May                        Aintree

14 May                        Newmarket

22 May                        Nottingham

30 May                        Huntingdon

2 June                         Ffos Las

5 June                         Goodwood

3 July                          Market Rasen

9 July                          Ascot

24 July                        Uttoxeter

25 July                        Newton Abbot

28 July                         Stratford

4 August                      Great Yarmouth

7 August                      Chelmsford

12 August                    Newbury

18 August                    Stratford

19 August                    Bangor On Dee

27 August                    Beverley

29 August                    Chepstow

4 September               York – CONDITIONS FINALS

4 September               Fontwell

11 September             Bath

25 September             Musselburgh

2 October                    Kelso

22 October                  Cheltenham – FINALS

 Charles Owen Conditions Series

Three Conditions Series races will be held, leading to a Conditions Finals on 4 September at York

13 May            Aintree 

24 July            Uttoxeter

18 August       Stratford

 Charles Owen Finals

The culmination of the Racecourse Series is the Finals held at Cheltenham on 22 October. After racing, the PRA hosts lunch for everyone and sponsors Charles Owen provide a helmet for each finalist.

About Charles Owen www.charlesowen.com

British manufacturer and global brand Charles Owen, best known for its range of riding helmets and body protectors, has been the main sponsor for the Racecourse Series since 2005.

Pony racing widens its appeal with launch of novice rider race series

Young riders with ordinary ponies are being encouraged to give pony racing a try with the launch this month of the Treehouse Sporting Colours Novice Rider Race Series.

Fourteen races will be staged at point-to-point meetings across the country from March to May, and those finishing 1st-4th will be eligible to enter and run in the finals at the Meynell & South Staffordshire Point-to-Point at Garthorpe on Saturday, 4 June.

Lucy Tucker from the Pony Racing Authority, said: “The Novice Rider Race series is specifically designed for those relatively new to pony racing who want to have a go and be competitive alongside others who are of a similar ability. So we are saying to riders with genuine Pony Club and hunting type ponies, these races are just for you, and we can promise you a fantastic day’s experience being treated like a proper jockey and competing on a racecourse!”

Pony racing is aimed at nine to fifteen years olds, and experiencing a race day is just as important as the final placings, as Lucy explained:  “The children get to parade in the paddock before their race, and are escorted to the start by riders from the host hunt. After tack safety checks, the races are started under the careful supervision of stewards and officials. There’s no jumping involved, and the races are generally around four to nine furlongs. Then it’s back to the winner’s enclosure and prize-giving to celebrate the achievement of all the jockeys taking part.”

Theresa Morris, from title sponsor Treehouse Sporting Colours, said: “We’ve always supported pony racing right from the start, and are thrilled to be involved with the Novice Rider Series. Point-to-points are a fantastic way to introduce young riders to racing, the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming and the emphasis is always on making sure the children have fun. Good luck to all the young jockeys starting out this season!”

Lucy Tucker added: “With the generous support of Treehouse Sporting Colours as title sponsor for the Novice Rider Series, I am delighted that we can open up pony racing to even more young riders to encourage them to give it a try.”

Pony racing at point-to-points is regulated to strict safety standards by the Pony Racing Authority, working closely with the Point-to-Point Authority.  Since the point-to-point pony racing started on 7 February 2016, 8 out of 79 point-to-point fixtures have staged their pony races, with 140 entries and 117 runners to date.

Entries are open for the first Novice Rider Series race at the Bicester with Whaddon Chase point-to-point on Sunday, 13 March: closing deadline is 6pm Saturday 5 March.

Photo credit: Neale Blackburn, www.chasdog.com


Qualifying races Treehouse Sporting Colours Novice Rider Race Series will be staged at:

– Bicester with Whaddon Chase at Whitfield on 13 March 2016

– Lanarkshire & Renfrewshire and Eglinton at Overton on 19 March 2016

– Mendip Farmers at Ston Easton on 20 March 2016 Sun

– Ledbury at Maisemore Park on Saturday, 26 March 2016

– Essex at High Easter on 9 April 2016

– Cotswold at Andoversford on 10 April 2016

– Southdown & Eridge at Godstone on 10 April 2016

– Fife at Balcormo Mains on 23 April 2016

– Lauderdale at Mosshouses on 1 May 2016

– Radnor & West Hereford at Cold Harbourn on 1 May 2016

– Dulverton West at Bratton Down on 15 May 2016

– Grafton Whitfield Sunday, 15 May 2016 Sun, 8 May SM

– Knutsford Races Club at Tabley on 22 May 2016

– North Hereford at Hereford Racecourse on 29 May 2016

Race Conditions are:

  • For Riders who have never WON an OPEN PtP Pony or Pony Club Race and who have NEVER taken part in the Charles Owen Summer Racecourse Series.
  • For genuine Pony Club & hunting type ponies measuring 148cms & under and who have not have been placed 1st -2nd since January 2014 in any recognized pony race. Combinations must be qualified as per the Regulations for Pony Races at entry. Those who finish 1st-4th will be eligible to enter and run in the finals at the Meynell & South Staffordshire Point-to-Point at Garthorpe on Saturday, 4th June. Any combination winning two of the qualifying races won’t be eligible to enter any further qualifying races.Once a combination has won two of the qualifying races they will no longer be eligible to compete in the qualifying races until the Championship Finals, which will be staged on Saturday, 4th June at Garthorpe.

race_tech-150x60The RaceTech Graduate Award (Point-to-Point)

The rider with the most points at the end of the season and who is eligible and wishes to ride in point-to-point races the following season will be awarded £500 sponsorship under the Point-to-Point Riders Sponsorship Scheme (RSS) which can be put towards the costs associated with medicals and Riders Qualification Certificates (RQC’s) required to be able to ride in point-to-point races.

race_tech-150x60The RaceTech Riders Championships

Points are being given to the first four past the post 1st:7, 2nd: 5, 3rd: 3 and 4th: 1. Presentations will be made to both the 148cms & 138cms rider with the most points at Cheltenham Racecourse.

Point-to-point pony racing sponsors

RaceTech Media  www.racetech.co.uk

Broadcast media services company RaceTech is the main sponsor for point-to-point pony racing, sponsoring the Championship Rider Titles and Pony Racing Graduate awards during the 2016 season.

Treehouse Sporting Colours www.treehouseonline.co.uk

Equestrian safety wear specialists Treehouse Sporting Colours sponsors the 14 races in the Novice Rider Series during the 2016 season.

Dunraven Stud www.dunravenstud.com

Dunraven Stud sponsors the 2016 point-to-point pony racing planner which is distributed to all PRA members.