JMB announces random testing

JMB Measurement Information for 2018

The JMB’s on-line application and card payment system (whereby owners apply and pay on-line to the JMB Office prior to contacting an Official Measurer) proved highly successful in 2017. Popular with owners, their agents and with Official Measurers, it will be continued in 2018.

We recommend that anyone seeking measuring information refers to the JMB Website,; e-mails or telephones 01293 862101.

The JMB website contains the Rules, details about the Measurement Procedure, FAQ’s and other comprehensive information.
Owners and their agents or representatives are advised to visit Appendix 2 where they will find a helpful, practical guide to ‘Preparing the Horse or Pony for Measurement’.
It is in Owners best interests that horses and ponies have comfortably gained experience of the measurement process and of travel to different premises, prior to the ‘big day’ of measurement.
This simple, practical preparation should ensure that the lowest relaxed height can be obtained.

Owners and their Agents need to be aware that the JMB Board unanimously agreed that from 1st January 2018, RANDOM body-fluid samples (usually blood) will be taken at the time of Measurement for routine Annual and Full Measurements, as already happens at Re-measurements and Gold Certificate measurements.
Animals presented for Annual or Full Certificates will be selected randomly using anonymised data issued by the JMB Office and the Official Measurer will act according to instructions issued to him or her. Costs will be borne by the JMB.
Details about Prohibited Substances can be found in Appendix 3 of the JMB Rules.

This new procedure should go a long way to ensure that animals presented for measurements are free from Prohibited Substances and are in a healthy condition, mirroring the Rules of their relevant Competition, be it Pony Racing, Showjumping or Showing.


JMB Stewards: Dec. Doc. 2017
Ref: JMB Rules for Measurement.

Author: CMN.

End of Season Awards

The 2017 Pony Racing Awards were held at Sheepdrove Organic Farm on Sunday, 3rd December. We had a great turn out of children & families and were lucky enough to visit Jamie Osborne’s yard in Upper Lambourn in the morning. Jamie gave us a fascinating insight into his training methods including a demonstration of his treadmill in action. We were also treated to the extraordinary story of Toast of New York who has ended up back in training with Jamie. Very emotional and totally absorbing! Thank you Jamie for sharing!

We moved to Sheepdrove Organic Farm for the Awards presentations where we welcomed Richard and Dawn Prince to present the Rose Bengal awards, Zoe Elliot to present the CareersinRacing Best Turned Out awards and Kate Hills to present the RaceTech Awards.

The 2017 Award winners were: 
Charles Owen Finals at Newmarket: Oakley Brown (148), Daniel Ellis (138).
Conditions Final at York: Owen Lewis (148), Harry Davies (138).
The Rose Bengal Leading Rider Awards sponsored by Richard & Dawn Prince: William Humphrey (148) and Finn Muirhead (138).
The Rose Bengal Scholarship Awards – Winner: Owen Lewis (148), runners up – Nia Kerslake & Alfie Godfrey; Winner: Elliot England (138), runners up – Poppy Scott & Megan Bevan.
The Careers in Racing Best Turned Out Award – Minty Bloss (138), (2nd Poppy Scott, 3rd Jamie Spencer); Joint winners – Nia Kerslake & Joshua Brown (148), (2nd Alfie Godfrey, 3rd Molly Burton).
Most widely travelled during 2017 – William Humphrey (14 Charles Owen races). 
RaceTech Media Leading PtP Riders – Charlie Sprake(148), Freddie Gingell (138).
Overall contribution to Pony Racing – Richard & Dawn Prince

The PRA asked the riders to give some thought to anything they would like to see changed in the industry. They are the future of racing after all. Below are listed some of their suggestions:

– A warm up area in the weighing room
– Optional warm up fence on the way to the start of jump races
– Greater recognition of the work contributed by grooms
– Introduce more Pony Racing Graduate races
– Introduce a weight allowance for girls as they do in France
– Take away the whip to improve public perception and encourage
jockeys to ride a more balanced finish
– Re-introduce seasonal breaks for both codes

Worth listening to? We certainly think these ideas are worth exploring. Watch this space!

‘Super Saturday’ for Pony Racing

What a fantastic day at Cheltenham for pony racing graduates! 5 out of the 7 races were won by jockeys who all started in pony racing.

Bryony Frost, Tom Bellamy, James Bowen, Brendan Powell and Harry Cobden all started their racing careers riding in Point-to-Point and Charles Owen pony races.

All have been able to use the valuable experience they gained on the pony racing circuit and this is certainly showing. All of these jockeys are hitting the headlines early in their careers proving that pony racing helps aspiring young jockeys get a foot on the ladder.

James Bowen, who’s last pony race was the Charles Owen Final at Cheltenham in October 2016, won on Saturday at Cheltenham for his new boss, Champion Trainer Nicky Henderson. Bryony Frost and Harry Cobden were both winning for the previous Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls. All 5 jockeys have shown they can handle the pressure of riding winners for top yards on big race days; the experience gained by their early days pony racing has helped them get where they are today.

Congratulations to them all!

York stage fabulous Novice Finals

The Charles Owen Novice Finals were staged at York at the weekend and as always provided 2 very competitive races. Harry Davies on Little Anne won the 138 cm race and Owen Lewis riding Bongo Bay won the 148 cm race. Both were competitively fought and all the riders showed how much they had learnt and improved over the season.

William Derby, Chief Executive of York Racecourse, said the children “rode and conducted themselves with great credit”.


York Racecourse are always very welcoming hosts and made it possible for the PRA to be able to give the families, who support and drive the children around the country, a lovely day out at the races.

The Novice Series goes from strength to strength with 5 qualifiers this season leading up to the finals. All the points count towards the Charles Owen Series and therefore towards the Finals at Newmarket in October.

With only 2 fixtures left, places in the Charles Owen Finals are being hard fought for and parents will be driving as far as Bath and Musselburgh in order to gain much needed points.


Tom Marquand lands first Group win

3 years after graduating from pony racing Tom Marquand continues to hit the headlines. He was Champion Apprentice in his first year of racing, rode out his claim within the first couple of years and has now landed his first Group 1 winner for his boss Richard Hannon on Anna Nerium at Salisbury racecourse.

Hollie Doyle, who also works for Richard Hannon and started in pony racing, also rode her first Group 1 winner earlier this season.

Both Tom and Hollie work hard and have always shown determination and grit to get to the top. Even when they were pony racing – and even when they weren’t always in the winners enclosure – it was obvious to all those watching that they had the work ethic and talent to get to the top.

Pony racing is where it all started for Tom and Hollie. To see the up and coming jockeys of the future come to the Charles Owen finals at Newmarket on Future Champions Day – 14th October 2017.

Our Pony Racing Training formula travels to New Zealand!

The New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) have recognised a way to fill their shortage of track riders with the help of Noelle Supple as reported here.  Noelle has helped run a number of joint PRA/PC training days in the UK but is now the Operations Manager at NZTR and has come up with this pilot scheme based on our formula. The aim is to build a relationship with the New Zealand pony clubs to introduce them to the racing industry – using the PRA as an example.

We wish them the best of luck and look forward to hearing how the pilot scheme goes.

Another Pony Racing Graduate hits the ground running!

Ella McCain has hit the ground running and ridden a winner in her first ride under rules. Her elder sister, Abbie, has recently ridden a double and is now being hotly pursued by Ella. (read more)

Other pony racing graduates making the news recently include Hector Crouch, coming off a 4 timer at Lingfield (read more), then went on to ride a 100/1 winner at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.


George Wood and Hollie Doyle are currently in the top 10 Apprentice Jockeys with Callum Shepherd, Joshua Bryan and William Cox all making names for themselves. Tom Marquand and Josephine Gordon are flying the flag among the professionals on the flat.

The 2017/18 National Hunt season is getting going and there are a number of young jockeys who all started in pony racing to look out for this season including the James Bowen, Harry Cobden and Charlie Deutsch.

There is no doubt that pony racing is helping our home grown jockeys make their mark earlier; they’ve had a chance to make their mistakes pony racing and their experience is really beginning to show among the professional ranks.

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

Tom Marquand makes final three for YSPOTY

It may seem a long time ago when Tom Marquand was crowned Champion Apprentice at the end of the Flat Racing Season, but now the Pony Racing Graduate is in line for another award after making the final three for BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.

The 17-year-old’s achievements were recognised by the wider sporting world last month when he was nominated alongside nine other athletes from a wide range of sports and there was further reason to celebrate on Thursday evening when he joined para-swimmer Tully Kearney and gymnast Ellie Downie in the final trio announced live on CBBC’s Blue Peter on Thursday.

Tom said:

“It’s amazing to think that just two years ago I was still firing myself around Point-to- Point tracks on racing ponies with a dream of making a career as a jockey.

Reflecting back on the time I spent pony racing it has proved to be an essential part of my preparation to come to the stage where I am in a position to be considered towards such a prestigious award. I can’t be thank everyone enough for helping and supporting me from the earlier years up to this point in time.”