Two races were held before the professional race card, the first over seven furlongs for ponies measuring 138cm and under, followed by the 148cm and under category over nine furlongs.
After nine wins from nine races and the Leading Rider award under her belt, fifteen-year-old Sophie Smith from Leicestershire led the last two furlongs to secure the championship title in the 138cm & under with her roan mare Push The Button. A tight finish to decide the placings saw Finn Muirhead (13) on Dillan’s Girl as runner up, Tamby Welch (13) on Churchill take third, with Camilla Broster on Fair N Square finishing fourth.
In the 148cm & under final, fifteen-year-old James Bowen on Cudlic Verona went into the race as winner of the Leading Rider Awards, having won six out of 12 races, with placings in the remaining six. Yorkshire’s Oakley Brown, at just five points behind in the rankings, promised tough competition on his five-year old mare White Water, having won nine out of 11 races, including winning the Conditions Final at York in September. In a tightly-contested race, Oakley gained a commanding lead from Noah Brazg Carrell on She’s a Lady, with Ella McCain on Mr Marshall in third and James Bowen on Cudlic Verona finishing fourth.
Sponsored by global brand Charles Owen since 2005, this year’s Racecourse Series began at Kempton Racecourse in March with jockeys competing for points across a total of 25 fixtures. Each rider in the Final was awarded a voucher for a Charles Owen helmet, and additional riding wear including a waterproof jacket.
Clarissa Daly, Chief Executive of the Pony Racing Authority, added: “Charles Owen has made a long-standing investment in the sport which has created a lasting impact: as a result, we have been able to open up incredible opportunities for young people to develop new skills through pony racing that, for many, will take them into the horse racing industry through a range of career paths. Thank you, also, to Cheltenham Racecourse for all their support in hosting two fantastic finals this year.”
Finals of Charles Owen Racecourse Series 2016
138cm & under Finals
1st Sophie Smith (15) – Leicestershire – Push the Button
2nd Finn Muirhead (13) – Devon – Dillans Girl
3rd Tamby Welch (13) – Devon – Churchill
4th Camilla Broster (13) –Cheshire – Fair N Square
148cm & under Finals
1st Oakley Brown (15) – Yorkshire – White Water
2nd Noah Brazg Carrell (15) Cambridgeshire – She’s a Lady
3rd Ella McCain (15) – Cheshire – Mr Marshall
4th James Bowen (15) – Pembrokeshire – Cudlic Verona
Charles Owen has supported pony racing since 2005 and provides all of the jockeys racing in the Finals with a Charles Owen jockey skull of their choice, and additional riding wear including a waterproof jacket and RaceSafe body protector
CareersinRacing kindly sponsor the Best Turned Out throughout the season
RaceTech Media and the Prince family kindly sponsor a number of annual awards, including awards for pony racers in their final season who are going on to work within the racing industry.