RaceTech reaffirms its support for point-to-point pony racing

RaceTech logo - pt2pt pony racing sponsorBroadcast media services company RaceTech will again be supporting the grass roots of pony racing by sponsoring the Championship Rider Titles and Pony Racing Graduate awards during the 2016 point-to-point pony racing season. The season kicks off at the Cambridgeshire and Enfield Chase point-to-point at Horseheath in the East Anglian Area, on Sunday 7 February and runs through until the last fixture of the season on Saturday 12 June, the Torrington Farmers at Umberleigh in the Devon & Cornwall Area. All in all, there are seventy-nine point-to-point pony racing fixtures due to be staged. Points will be awarded for all wins and placings and winners will be presented with prizes and a training bursary at Cheltenham Racecourse in October.

In addition to the Championship titles and Graduate awards, new for 2016, RaceTech will also be sponsoring gallop sessions for young riders coming through the Pony Racing Authority’s youth training scheme during 2016.

Additional sponsorship has been confirmed in the form of Treehouse Sporting Colours which, for 2016, will be the title sponsor of the Novice Riders Race Series. Fourteen qualifying races will be held throughout the country where those finishing in the first four will qualify for the finals, to be staged by kind permission of the Meynell & South Staffordshire point-to-point at Garthorpe on 4 June.

The 2016 Point-to-Point Pony Racing Planner, in its fourth edition, has generously been sponsored by Bridgend-based Dunraven Stud. The Planner is a must-have publication for everyone wishing to take part in point-to-point pony races this season and is issued to all PRA members or available from Mrs Lucy Tucker.

Pony racing is designed to encourage children aged nine to sixteen into racing competitively, with races held across two height categories (138cms & under and 148cms & under). All point-to-point pony racing fixtures are kindly hosted by the organising committees of those Hunts / Clubs who stage point-to-point racing and run in conjunction with the sport’s governing body, the Pony Racing Authority (PRA). Since the sport became regulated in 2004, more than 150 riders have graduated onto horses both between the flags and under Rules, with many more also working within the horseracing industry.

Catherine Pullan of RaceTech said: “We’re delighted to continue our close association with pony racing for a fourth year, where young children from a variety of backgrounds have the chance to experience the thrill of riding in a race. It’s great to see teenagers coming through and making their mark in the professional ranks, and going into other areas in the racing industry too. We wish all those taking part this season the very best of luck.”

Lucy Tucker, a Director of the PRA and who oversees point-to-point pony racing, said: “The generous sponsorship provided by RaceTech, Treehouse Sporting Colours and the Brace family from Dunraven Stud means we are able to put on a superb programme of point-to-point pony racing. The PRA is widening its reach to new riders – with training programmes designed for children who have little or no experience of ponies, and are therefore creating more opportunities for them to be able to get involved and ultimately have a go.”


Notes to editors

Treehouse-logo-small The 2016 Treehouse Sporting Colours Novice Riders Race Series
The series is designed for Pony Club and hunting-type ponies and novice riders, with qualifying races across the country at 14 fixtures. The first four past the post are eligible to enter and run in the Finals, which are due to be held at Garthorpe on 4 June. Secretary: Mrs Lucy Tucker – ptpponyracing@icloud.com / 01258 817604. Entries taken online via www.ponyracingauthority.co.uk

race_tech-150x60The Rider’s Championship Points Series
Points are awarded to those placed 1st – 4th on the following basis: 1st: 7 points, 2nd 5 points, 3rd: 3 points 4th: 1 point. The rider from each height category with the most points at the end of the season will be presented with their prizes in the main winners enclosure at a race meeting held at Cheltenham Racecourse. Prizes will be in kind and a training bursary.

race_tech-150x60The RaceTech Graduate Award
The Rider gaining the most points throughout the season via the Championship Points Series and who will be eligible to ride as an adult the following season (i.e. age 16) and who plans to ride in point-to-point races will be offered sponsorship by RaceTech via the Point-to-Point Riders Sponsorship Scheme (RSS). The 2015 RaceTech Graduate award winner Ben Godfrey will be riding between the flags during this season and will be making his debut kindly sponsored by RaceTech.

dunraven stud logo  Sponsors of the 2016 Point to Point Pony Racing Planner – available from Mrs Lucy Tucker email ptpponyracing@icloud.com

For more information concerning Point-to-Point Pony Racing, contact: Mrs Lucy Tucker: ptpponyracing@icloud.com / 01258 817604 / 07771 518258
RaceTech www.racetech.co.uk
Treehouse Sporting Colours www.treehouseonline.co.uk
Dunraven Stud www.dunravenstud.com
The Point-to-Point Racing Company: www.pointtopoint.couk

Success for Youth Training Scheme as first-time jockey Annabel Willis takes the reins

The dream of a young rider to become a jockey has come true thanks to an innovative Youth Training Scheme which aims to make careers in racing more accessible for young people.

Sixteen-year-old Annabel Willis from Banbury made her debut at the Heythrop Hunt point-to-point held at Cocklebarrow racecourse last weekend [24 Jan]. Despite having to pull up My Minds Maid two from home in the 3m 4f Ladies Open, it was a good first outing for the Moreton Morell College student, who had no experience of racing until two years ago.

With her experience limited to lessons at a local riding school, Annabel joined a Youth Training Scheme (YTS) based at Appletree Stud near Banbury, one of two schemes run by the Pony Racing Authority (PRA). Designed for children aged 11-14 years who do not own a pony and who are unable to participate in pony racing through financial or other circumstances, the scheme takes young riders through a fully-funded training programme with the goal being to take part in a pony race.

As one of the first teenagers to graduate from the training scheme in 2014, Annabel described the experience as life-changing:

“I wasn’t lucky enough to have my own pony growing up, but I never saw that as an issue, more an obstacle to overcome. Completing the YTS scheme meant that, as well as riding in a Pony Club Race Day at Cheltenham, I learned about the different roles in racing and developed some of the skills needed for the industry. I wish I had had longer in pony racing, but the hard work and focus I had during and after the YTS, is definitely what got me to the races on Sunday.”

The 16-year-old credits Stratford-based trainer Francesca Nimmo for her first competitive ride: “Francesca gave me the opportunity to ride out for her whilst I study for an Equine Management Diploma at college. When the chance came up to ride My Minds Maid – or Marge as we call her – it took sixteen weeks of hard work, balancing my race riding, fitness and education, along with intensive equicizer and schooling sessions with Francesca’s partner, professional jockey Charlie Poste, before I was ready to go.”

“I couldn’t have asked for a better race to have my first spin – it was the fastest 7 minutes of my life!  The best thing, by far, was jumping a racehorse at speed over the fences in the pack.  It was the biggest thrill I have ever felt … such an adrenaline rush!”

She added: “Before the YTS I was like any teenager drifting through life without ambition. Now I know what I want, I’m one hundred per cent focused and excited for what my future may hold.”

Francesca Nimmo said: “We are delighted with the progress Annabel has made over the last sixteen weeks, having had very little experience on racehorses.  Her hard work has paid off and she certainly did not look out of place on her debut on Sunday.  Pony racing has obviously provided her with a fantastic grounding.”

PRA chief executive Clarissa Daly commented: “With her determination to succeed and enthusiasm for learning, Annabel is a fantastic role model for young riders. I am delighted that our Youth Training Scheme, through the coaching and mentoring of Julie and Patrick Scott at Appletree Stud, has given Annabel the boost she needed to start a career in racing.”

For more information about our Pony Racing Academy, and the Youth Training Scheme, please see our Facebook page Pony Racing Academy