Racing Foundation funding boost for pony racing activities to create a “formal pathway” into racing 



  • £180,000 per year awarded for 5 years (2021-2025) to develop a formal pathway of activities as a progressive route into the racing industry. (see diagram attached)
  • Delivery to be overseen by the Pony Racing Authority, in collaboration with Racing to School, the Pony Club and Careers in Racing.
  • To include the expansion of activities such as pony racing academies, pony racing training days, engagement with Pony Club branches and centres and working with inner-city riding groups.
  • To improve diversity and inclusion by engaging with youngsters from a wider range of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.


The Racing Foundation and Pony Racing Authority (PRA) are delighted to announce multi-year commitment to the development and delivery of a formal pathway into racing through pony racing.Over the past 13 years, pony racing has introduced hundreds of young people to racing, many of whom have progressed into roles as professional jockeys, amateur jockeys or have gone on to work in yards and on studs.

Historically, a wide range of activities have successfully been delivered by a number of organisations working independently so the development of this 5-year collaborative strategy aims to align activities as part of a formal pathway and to maximise their impact. It will build on the great progress already being made to train and develop jockeys and racing staff of the future.

The pathway strategy will involve direct collaboration between delivery partners, including the Pony Racing Authority, Racing to School, the Pony Club, Careers in Racing, the British Racing School and the National Horseracing College, and will include the expansion of activities such as :

  • Pony Racing Academies for youngsters with no link to racing and no pony of their own
  • Pony Club camp visits, training days and pony racing days.
  • Taster sessions and ‘Buzz’ days.
  • Careers advice and further training.
  • Training of pony racing instructors.
  • School visits and recruitment fairs.
  • Stand-alone pony racing days.
  • Development of track and trace systems to follow the progression of youngsters into racing.
  • There will also be a specific focus on increasing diversity and inclusion among pony racing participants by engaging with youngsters from a wider range of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. The PRA has already established links with inner-city groups in London, Gloucester, Liverpool, Banbury, Leicester and Worcester but aims to widen this remit by reaching new audiences in other Pony Club Centres (for members who do not have their own ponies) and inner-city riding schools.

Some of the activities have been developed in response to a study commissioned by the PRA to look at barriers preventing youngsters from engaging and participating in pony racing. The pathway’s focus on diversity and inclusion aligns with the racing industry’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan and more widely with the development of youth engagement schemes by other sports.

Racing Foundation funding will support activities until the end of 2025 and will include an independent evaluation of progress and impact at the end of 2022.

Clarissa Daly, CEO of the PRA, said:

“We are very excited to be part of this historic strategy. For the first time, racing will have a recruitment plan for its Junior League. Introducing young people from all backgrounds, making it possible for them to participate in pony racing will benefit racing in the long term.”

Tansy Challis, Grants Manager at the Racing Foundation, said:

“The Racing Foundation has funded several activities over the past few years that have engaged with youngsters to raise awareness of the racing industry and the career opportunities it offers. Response to pony racing activities, in particular, has been very positive and we are delighted to be supporting the delivery of a more formal pathway into racing that will see stakeholders working together to align activities and increase their impact. The focus on inclusivity and diversity is especially important to protect the future of the sport and we believe that pony racing will provide the ideal conduit for a youth engagement programme that will shape the jockeys, racing staff and racing supporters of the future.”

Marcus Capel, Pony Club CEO, said:

“The Pony Club is excited to continue working with this partnership to develop its Pony Racing offer and thankful to the Racing Foundation for its continued support.  The offering provides members with the chance to dip their toe in to the world of racing through to competitive races, from here they can progress to offer a coach to those interested through Continuous Professional Development sessions. We look forwards to more members and coaches getting involved in the sport from Branches and Centres alike.”

Charles Barnett, Pony Club Pony Racing Committee Chairman, said:

“The Pony Racing Committee would like to thank the Racing Foundation for their continued trust and support on our joint venture. We are very excited to work on increasing participation in the Sport being offered by the Pony Club and plan to provide our members through Branches and Centres with the chance to try Pony Racing.  We look forwards to seeing the pathway for young people to progress in racing in action and them moving through the organisations to enjoy racing, either as a sport, hobby or career.”

John Blake, Chief Executive of Racing to School, said:

“Racing to School is grateful to The Racing Foundation for providing long-term funds for this partnership programme, which will offer new, practical opportunities for young people. Our existing Riders’ Programme has evidenced the potential for this work, and taught us how best to engage with young equestrians; there is an openness to learn about racing as an alternative to other, perhaps more familiar equine sports. This new structured programme led by The Pony Racing Authority can only build on this work and that of the other specialist partners.”

Zoe Elliott, Head of Careers Marketing and Recruitment, British Horseracing Authority, said:

“Developing this strategy has been a real collaborative effort, and as a team we have really focussed on how we will work together to deliver these opportunities for young people. So often racing can seem out of reach to many; but these initiatives will take access to racing straight into the heart of communities and groups giving them a chance to participate.  By getting involved young people will both have the opportunity to increase their skills but also the confidence to see that racing welcomes them as a sport they could be involved in for life; either as a fan, participant or employee”.

Notes to editors:

  1. The pony racing progression pathway can be viewed here.
  2. As of July 2020, 179 pony racing graduates hold a licence to ride in the UK, of which 149 currently hold BHA licences: (including 8 Professionals on the Flat; 19 Professionals NH; 24 Apprentices; 25 Conditionals; 23 Cat A). Pony racing graduates include a number of high-profile jockeys such as Hollie Doyle; Tom Marquand; Megan Nicholls; Sam Twiston-Davies; Harry Cobden; Josephine Gordon; Charlie Bishop; Sean Bowen; Rex Dingle; Jonjo O’Neill Jnr; Tyler Heard and Bryony Frost.
  3. In 2019, 340 taster days were delivered; 331 youngsters participated in pony racing training; 437 youngsters rode in a pony race; 14 pony racing graduates went on to hold BHA jockey licenses.
  4. To date, over 100 youngsters have taken part in pony racing academies across 28 schemes and over 50% went on to ride in a second race. 21 academy graduates now work in the racing industry.
  5. The Racing Foundation was established in January 2012  by the British Horseracing Authority, the Horsemen’s Group and Racecourse Association, as a charity, to oversee the distribution of funds to charitable causes within racing following the sale of the Tote. We are registered with the Charity Commission under the law of England and Wales (no. 1145297). Our purpose is to make a difference in racing by acting as a catalyst and a funder of improvement. The Trustees of the Racing Foundation are Ian Barlow (Chairman), Linda Bowles, Susannah Gill, Mark Johnston, Louise Kemble and William Rucker. Since inception, the Racing Foundation has granted over £20million to charities associated with the horseracing and Thoroughbred breeding industry in the UK, supporting work in social welfare, education and training, horse welfare, equine science research, and heritage and culture.
  6. The Pony Racing Authority has particular responsibility for integrity and safety. The PRA governs the sport at the grass roots Point-to-Point level as well as the prestigious Racecourse Series. The PRA works closely with the Pony Club to support entry level pony racing via the Pony Club Race Days. We also work closely with the Pony Club to organise pony racing training.Shareholders of the PRA are the Racecourse Association, The Jockey Club, the Point-to-Point Secretaries Association and the Master of Foxhounds Association. Representatives from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and The Pony Club also sit on the PRA Board in observer positions. The PRA is a company limited by guarantee and all money raised by the PRA is invested into Pony Racing.
  7. The Pony Club is an international voluntary youth organisation for young people interested in ponies and riding. Founded in England in 1929, and granted independent charitable status on 1st January 1997, there are around 345 Branches and 480 Centres in the UK alone. The Pony Club has been the starting point for a large majority of equestrian team members and medal winners. The Pony Club currently offers nine sports to its members including Pony Racing, this sport offering is achieved through educational work (Achievement Badges), training and competitions which are held at prestigious racecourses.The objectives of The Pony Club include encouraging young people to connect with horses and riding through all kinds of sports, horsemanship, welfare of the equines in members care, teaching members citizenship, sportsmanship and other ideals.
  8.  Racing to School is a registered charity responsible for the development and delivery of racing-related education programmes. Delivered free to schools at racecourses, studs and trainers’ yards across the UK, Racing to School’s lively approach supports children and young people by demonstrating a practical application of a range of National Curriculum subjects and sparking a knowledge and understanding of the sport of horseracing. Since 2016 the charity has also delivered the Riders’ Programme, which encourages young people who already ride and/or have an interest in another equine discipline to consider racing as a possible career route. The charity ran over 370 events in 2019, engaging more than 15,000 beneficiaries.
  9.  Careers in Racing is the central careers marketing and recruitment brand for British racing run by the British Horseracing Authority. The team implements recruitment initiatives and marketing campaigns to promote racing careers and pathways to a range of audiences from school age to those looking to change careers.

Congratulations – Jonjo O’Neill Jnr is crowned Champion Conditional for 2019/2020

Huge congratulations to #pragraduate Jonjo O’Neill Jnr.  Jonjo was crowned champion conditional with 61 winners.  Enough to also place him 10th overall in the main jump jockeys’ championship too.  He was also 20 winners clear of runner-up and fellow pony racing graduate Ben Jones.



Change in Vaccination Requirements for the remainder of the 2020 Season

Following the BHA’s decision yesterday to relax the equine influenza protocols due to COVID-19, the PRA Board has agreed that during the remainder of 2020, for a pony to be eligible to compete in pony races, it will be necessary to have received an approved equine influenza vaccination within the last 12 months, instead of the existing six month requirement. The 12-month approach reflects the policy that was in place in Britain prior to 2019.

We do not know when we will be able to start pony racing but we hope this will be one less thing to worry about over the coming months.

Please read this press release for full details:     BHA Announcement re Vaccinations


2019 PRA Annual Report


We are very grateful to Racecourses and Point-to-Points for allowing us to give the jockeys of the future a chance to experience the ‘real thing’ by allowing us to run pony races on race days. Pony racing allows children to practice, experience and hone their skills before setting off as professional or amateur jockeys. But we are doing so much more than that. We are introducing children and their families not just to the sport of horse racing but also the industry. Many of the children who ride in pony racing will go on to ride as professional or amateur jockeys; many more will end up working in racing in other areas.

To view the 2019 Annual Report please click the button below.

Click here to view the PRA Annual Report for 2019


Close of the 2020 Point-to-Point Pony Racing Season

Following the formal announcement confirming that the British Point-to-Point season is closed for this season we are writing to confirm there will be no further Point-to-Point pony racing this season.

We are as disappointed as everyone but following the Prime Minister’s words last night to minimise social contact and non-essential travel, we fully support this move.

The Racecourse Series is not due to start until the end of May. We will keep everyone up to date regularly as events change.

In the meantime, please all stay safe and we will be in touch.

Clarissa and all at the PRA

Click here for the full statement from The Point-to-Point Authority on the 2019/2020 British Point-to-Point Season

The 2020 PRA Racecourse Series – Fixture List Released.

The Pony Racing Authority are delighted to announce dates for the 2020 Racecourse Series.

We will continue to run open races for ponies measuring 138 cm and under and 148 cm and under.  The 138 cm ponies will carry a minimum weight of 7st 10 lbs and the 148 cm ponies will carry a minimum weight of 9 stone.

New for 2020
We will run a Novice Series for ponies measuring 148 cm and under, carrying a minimum weight of 9 stone. We have introduced a new 146 cm and under category for all ponies measuring under 146 cm including 138 cm novice ponies. Ponies measuring under 138 cm will carry a minimum weight of 7 st 10lbs and those measuring between 138.1 cm and 146 cm will carry a minimum weight of 8 st 10lbs.

Any novice ponies measuring 146 cm and under wanting to compete in a 148 cm and under open race will carry a minimum weight of 8st 7lbs.

Any novice ponies competing in 148 cm and under open races will carry a minimum weight of 8st 10lbs until they are no longer a novice.

Novice Series
The novice series is for all individual children or ponies who have not been placed (1st – 4th) in any Racecourse Series Final in the previous 2 years (2018 and 2019). The aim of the Series is to allow novice combinations to start competing in the Racecourse Series. The races are run as any other Racecourse Series pony race and points won count towards both the Novice Finals and the Racecourse Series Final. Points for Novice Races will be awarded as follows:
6 points for a win,
4 points for second,
2 points for third
1 point for fourth.

All winners of novice races will carry a 3lbs penalty for each win in the Novice Series.
The first 2 placed combinations in each Novice race will automatically qualify for the Novice Finals. The next combinations with the most points will qualify for places until all places are filled.
Any combination winning more than 2 Novice races is no longer eligible to enter further races in the Novice Series, except the Novice Final, in that season.
The Novice races will this season be for ponies measuring 148 cm and under and 146 cm and under. 146 cm ponies will carry a minimum of 8st 10lbs and 138 cm ponies will carry 7st 10lbs. Penalties will be carried in the Novice Finals.
All those riding in Novice Races gain points for the prestigious Racecourse Series Finals at the end of the season.



Sunday 19th April – Wincanton Racecourse. Before the main card.
138cm Open over 8f.  148cm Open over 1m 2f.

Monday 25th May – Huntingdon Racecourse. Before the main card.
138cm Open over 7f.  148cm Open over 1m 1f.

Sunday 31st May – Fakenham Racecourse. After the main card.
138cm Open over 7f.  148cm Open over 1m 1f.

Sunday 7th June – Goodwood Racecourse. Before the main card.
138cm Open over 6f.  148cm Open over 6f.

Sunday 5th July – Market Rasen Racecourse. Before the main card.
146cm Novice over 7f.  148cm Novice over 1m 2f.

Saturday 11th July – Ascot Racecourse. Before the main card.
138cm Open over 6f.  148cm Open over 1m.

Friday 17th July – Haydock Racecourse. After the main card.
138cm Open over 5f.  148cm Open over 1m 2f.

Tuesday 21st July – Chelmsford Racecourse. Before the main card.
146cm Novice over 6f.  148cm Novice over 7f.

Thursday 30th July – Nottingham Racecourse. Before the main card.
138cm Open over 6f.  148cm Open over 1m 2f.

Monday 3rd August – Carlisle Racecourse.  After the main card.
With special prizes for ‘Northern’ based riders.
146cm Novice over 6f.  148cm Novice over 1m.

Thursday 6th August – Great Yarmouth Racecourse. Before the main card.
138cm Open over 6f.  148cm Open over 8f.

Tuesday 11th August – Chepstow Racecourse. Before the main card.
138cm Open over 1m 2f. 148cm Open over 1m 3f.

Friday 14th August – Wolverhampton Racecourse. Before the main card.
146cm Novice over 6f.  148cm Novice over 1m 1f.

Monday 17th August – Lingfield Racecourse. Before the main card.
138cm Open over 7f.  148cm Open over 1m.

Thursday 20th August – Stratford Racecourse. After the main card.
138cm Open over 7f.  148cm Open over 1m 1f.

Tuesday 25th August – Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse. After the main card.
146cm Novice over 7f.  148cm Novice over 1m 2f.

Thursday 27th August – Newbury Racecourse. Before the main card.
138cm Open over 6f.  148cm Open over 1m.

Monday 31st August – Southwell Racecourse.  Before the main card.
138cm Open over 7f.  148cm Open over 1m.

Sunday 6th September – York Racecourse. Before the main card.
146cm Novice Finals over 7f.  148cm Novice Finals over 1m 1f.

Sunday 13th September – Ffos Las Racecourse. Before the main card.
138cm Open over 1m.  148cm Open over 1m 2f.

Sunday 27th September – Musselburgh Racecourse. Before the main card.
138cm Open over 7f.  148cm Open over 1m.

Sunday 25th October – Aintree Racecourse. Before the main card.
138cm Open Finals over 6f.  148cm Open Finals over 1m 1f.

All race details correct at time of going to print (13 February 2020). 
Please go to the PRA website for updates and further information.

Recent EHV-1 Outbreak – Advice


You may be aware that there has recently been an outbreak of EHV-1. Please be aware and ensure that you remain vigilant for signs of the virus, maintain excellent biosecurity and consult with vets if you are concerned.

Click here to see the BEF’s response.

You can find tips on biosecurity on the Pony Club’s Biosecurity policy.

Please remember that the PRA vaccination policy is for 6 monthly Equine Influenza vaccinations/boosters with a one month grace period.

See the PRA website for full regulations and guidance. With thanks.

The 2019 PRA Awards

What a magnificent year to reflect on! Sunday 1st December 2019 saw members of the PRA join together, starting with a tour of the beautiful and historic Rhonehurst Stables in Lambourn– home to trainer Oliver Sherwood. With Oliver making an appearance on Nick Luck’s Racing TV show that morning, Tarnya and Assistant Andy were in charge at home. Photographs were taken by the stable once occupied by the famous Many Clouds and there was an insightful demonstration with one of the stable stars swimming in the equine pool. It was then on to Newbury Racecourse for the Awards and a delicious lunch in the Owners Club which had been quickly turned around after a busy day before.

We were delighted to be joined also by Kate Hills of RaceTech and Zoe Elliott of CareersinRacing who kindly assisted Chairman Edward Gillespie in handing out the prizes. Read on for full details of all the winners. We were also honoured to be joined by Anne Watts, winner of the 2019 Services to Pony Racing Awards.

2019 PRA Awards Winners

The Charles Owen Racecourse Series Finals Winners
run at Cheltenham Racecourse on 17th November 2019.
138cm winner – Harry Davies riding Little Anne
148cm winner – Edward Vaughan riding White Water

The Charles Owen Racecourse Series Conditions’ Final Winners
run at York Racecourse on 8th September 2019.
138cm winner – Zak Kent riding Galway Girl
148cm winner – Ollie Proctor riding Steal My Girl

The One of a Kind PRA Award for Fifty and Counting
Presented to Push The Button. Winner of 50 PRA Charles Owen Racecourse Series Races in her career so far. Thomas Bradburne, current jockey, kindly accepted her winning rug on her behalf.

The RaceTech Racecourse Series Leading Riders Awards
138cm winner – Taylor Fisher
148cm winner – Edward Vaughan

The Rose Bengal Scholarship Awards
from nominations from Stewards and Coaches for rider/s who show the most improvement on and off their pony
138cm runner up – Taylor Fisher
138cm winner – Thomas Bradburne
148cm runners up – Lucy Aspell, Will Featherstone and Henry Main
148cm winner – Elliot England

Best Turned Out
for the rider/pony with the greatest number of BTO prizes throughout the season
138cm winner – Joe Leavy
148cm winner – Molly Burton

The Chiumbo Endeavour Award
in memory of a fantastic racing pony now retired who gave everything and taught lots of children about pony racing. Awarded to a jockey who has shown great commitment throughout the season both on and off their pony.
Joint winners – Daniel Ellis and Will Featherstone

Most Widely Travelled
the riders who rode in the most Racecourse Series Races over the season
138cm winner – Taylor Fisher
148cm winner– Molly Burton

CareersinRacing Video Competition
for the best video concerning Pony Racing
Runners up – Jack Dace and Lucas Murphy
Winners – Richard Cook and Daisy Dace

The RaceTech Point-to-Point Leading Riders Awards
138cm winner – Jack Dace
148cm winner – Ashley Lewis

Most Stand out rider of the Point-to-Point Pony Racing Season, for Conduct On and Off the Track – Edward Vaughan

The George Crawford Trust Bursary – created by George’s loving parents Cameron and Mary. George pony raced for a number The George Crawford Legacy Trust was set up in memory of George Crawford who died following a road accident at the tragically young age of 20. The George Crawford Bursary is awarded to a maximum of 2 pony racing children for them to buy equipment and pay for training towards their pony racing. The nominations were made through the Point-to-Point pony racing committee, Pony Club Race Day organisers and PRA stewards and BHA Jockey Coaches with the PRA Executive making the final decision.
The inaugural George Crawford Trust Bursary Award for Pony Racing was gifted to Charlie Clarke.

Services to Pony Racing
Anne Watts – presented by Richard Prince and Edward Gillespie

BHA Update – Equine Influenza


The BHA have today released an update on Equine Influenza in the UK.  Following a decrease in the number of reported outbreaks of Equine Influenza in the United Kingdom and Europe, the BHA Veterinary Committee have agreed to further relax the requirements for all horses on Racecourse Property.  This includes runners from non-Licenced yards (ARO, Hunter Chasers and PRA), non-GB runners (including France and Ireland) and other horses on racecourses (for example ROR).