The Finals of the 2019 Charles Owen Racecourse Series were run at Cheltenham Racecourse on Sunday 17th November 2019. Both races were hard fought in testing conditions with Harry Davies on Little Anne coming out on top in the 138 cm race and Ed Vaughan riding White Water winning the 148 cm race. (See full results)
The Series has been run at 24 Racecourses starting at Aintree in May. The ponies have travelled from Fakenham to Chepstow, Fontwell to Ffos Las, Musselburgh to Great Yarmouth in a bid to win points to qualify for the Finals. 20 children qualified for the two races and it was a pleasure to see them competing in such inspiring surroundings under the watchful eyes of A P McCoy and Ruby Walsh.
This year’s races saw a recent graduate of the PRA’s Youth Training Scheme having his first ride in the finals. Ben Colmer started pony racing on the PRA’s funded scheme for those who don’t own their own pony. Ben has gone on to ride in many pony races since and it was a fitting end to his pony racing career to see him ride in the finals. Ben, who is currently riding out for Andrew Balding and Eve Johnson-Houghton, will be going to the BRS when leaving school next summer.
The 138 cm race was won by Little Anne who beat Push The Button – a pony who has now competed in 7 Series Finals and has won 50 Charles Owen Series races. Push The Button is the winning most pony of the Series and is responsible for starting the careers of Charlotte Greenway, Sean Bowen, James Bowen and Sophie Smith. She was ridden by Thomas Bradburne on Sunday.
Push the Button with Sophie Smith and Thomas Bradburne
After 12 years of sponsorship, this was Charles Owen’s last series. Clarissa Daly, CEO of the PRA said: “Charles Owen have been an incredible partner over the last 12 years and we could not have come this far without their support. They have branded the racecourse series and made it their own so they will be hard to replace. However we would like to thank them for everything they have done and in particular we will remember Roy Burek, Chairman of Charles Owen, who sadly passed away in April, for his personal support.”
Roy Burek presenting the cups to the winners of the 2018 Charles Owen Finals
The PRA is grateful to everyone who makes this happen. These jockeys would not be able to practice their skills and experience the thrill of race riding without the support of the racecourses, BHA officials and our supporters including RaceTech Media and CareersinRacing. With over 100 graduates of pony racing now holding a licence and more to come from this year the future looks bright for British jockeys.