2019 Charles Owen Series Draws to a Close

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.




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).


Sad Loss to the Equestrian Industry

Roy was a pioneer of equestrian safety and a champion of pony racing. With Roy’s support through Charles Owen sponsorship, pony racing has grown and developed in GB to produce many of the top jockeys riding today.

Edward Gillespie, Chairman of the PRA, said “We are so sorry to hear Roy has died. This is a sad loss to the equestrian world. His long term support has ensured many children have enjoyed pony racing and been given the chance to ride at many racecourses. He will be missed and we send our condolences to his family”


Assistant to CEO Required

Assistant to the Chief Executive of the Pony Racing Authority

The Pony Racing Authority is seeking an assistant, on a part-time basis, to help the CEO with all aspects of the administration of PRA pony racing. This includes helping to organise, promote and administer the activities run by the PRA – the Racecourse Series, PRA/PC training days, taster days and Youth Training Schemes. Also to help with general data collection, writing reports and implementing marketing strategies to promote pony racing to a wide audience. There is scope for the role to develop.

Competence with Microsoft Office and Excel is important and some knowledge of pony racing will be useful.

The job is part-time and based near Ludlow, Shropshire.

Please contact Clarissa Daly for further information or email your CV with a covering letter to clarissa@ponyracingauthority.co.uk

Update on Equine Influenza Outbreak 22 February 2019



Procedures to be carried out at point-to-points in respect to Equine Influenza Precautions
Update as of 21 February 2019

The following provides an explanation of what action is being taken in relation to recent outbreak of equine influenza (EI).  All fixtures are working hard to make it as painless as possible for everyone, and you are all asked to show patience and assist in every way if asked.  At the end of the explanation is a list of Frequently asked Questions and their answers for your interest.


The New BHA Requirements to combat EI are:

  • Vaccination.  BHA has ordered that no declarations will be accepted from horses that have not been vaccinated in the previous six months.   This requirement will be in place until further notice.  Please note that the normal stipulation that the vaccination must not have been given on the day of racing or any of the six days prior to the day of the race as according to Regulation 36 (ii), still applies.
  • Declaration of Health BHA has ordered that on arrival at the racecourse, the responsible person (Owner, Keeper or Authorised to Act) must provide the following for all equines on board before the ramp can be lowered:
  • The horse’s passport with proof of vaccination and date
  • Confirmation that they have taken the horse’s temperature that morning and provision of that temperature
  • A signed Health Declaration form – new version as of 21 Feb 19 (see link)

This is the Owner’s responsibility.  He does not require a vet to carry out the health checks before making the Declaration

The Fixture will have a fool proof system in place to ensure that this is enforced rigorously.  NB it is recognised that all courses are slightly different in layout and will take different approaches accordingly.

This will apply to all equines including companion horses/ponies, pony racing, Hunt horses and horse catchers, and any other activity programmed.  Fixtures running events/races which are not under BHA auspices (Charity races etc) must still comply with the above

Penalties for failure to comply are currently under discussion, although Regulation 38 already lays down the fines for failure to provide accurate Vaccination requirements


Procedures for Fixtures


Key points

  • There are numerous ways to carry out the procedures, and there is no right or wrong solution
  • System should be easily understandable by all so someone can stand in at short notice
  • Numbers required will depend on how great the number of horses and boxes which come.


The Owner/Keeper must ensure that the following is done in line with BHA Directive (attached):

  • The Vaccination dates in passport comply with new requirements
    • It is 6 calendar months inclusive to the day.  EG if vaccination was on 23 Aug you can run on 23 Feb.
    • As before the vaccination cannot have been during the 6 days previous to racing.  In other words if you want to run on a Saturday you cannot have had an injection after the previous Saturday
  • The Health Declaration Form is properly filled in including Horse’s temperature taken that day and signature of owner/keeper/authorised to act.
  • Fully comply with the systems put in place by the fixture to comply with the BHA requirement

The Owner/Keeper should ensure that the following is done:

  • All lorries should be washed out and, ideally, disinfected between all journeys
  • Allow sufficient journey and arrival lead times to assist in facilitating the BHA Arrival checks
  • Everyone involved with the horses should change into in clean clothing to attend each meeting in order to minimise risk of contamination etc

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What extra staff needed?  Up to Fixture, and obviously dependent on number of horses, but evidence seems to indicate that you will need at least:
    • One extra vet depending on numbers of horses
    • One extra Declarations Clerk possibly two depending on number of horses
    • A runner depending on how procedures set up
    • Someone to keep close control of water usage in winning enclosure
  • Further biosecurity Requirements?  Whilst there are no further biosecurity measures to put in place by Fixtures, the BHA Chief Veterinary Officer is keen that common sense prevails and everyone puts in effort.  In particular he highlighted:
    • Boxes being washed between trips when shared.
    • Those involved with horses wear clean clothing to pointing

I think it makes sense to emphasise this in your letters to the owners and trainers.

  • Horse’s Temperature?  It should not be above 38.5 degrees. 
  • Vaccination Date Definition.  It is 6 calendar months inclusive to the day.  EG if vaccination was on 16 Aug you can run on 16 Feb.
  • Who Can do the Checks?  BHA have put out new directive on vaccination checks, which directs that these are to be carried out by a designated Declarations Clerk.  A vet must be in the vicinity to answer any queries as they arise.  The responsible person must state date last vaccinated and that will be noted on the Health Declaration form by the Declarations Clerk, who is based at the designated spot, not necessarily at the Declarations Tent. 
  • What to do with Health Declaration Forms?  All Health Declarations Forms must be posted in one bunch to the BHA Office after racing, stating at which point to point they were collected, as at bottom of BHA Directive.
  • How long will this go on?  These measures are being reviewed by the BHA on an ongoing basis.  However, it is probably sensible for all fixtures to plan to use them for this season.
  • Horsebox?  All horses within a box must comply.  If one does not, the box gets turned away. 
  • Companion Horses/Ponies?  Companion horses must fully comply, which means, if they have not been vaccinated before, they will need two injections, the last of which must have been within six months.
  • Water and drinking buckets in paddock?  Water for cooling down and drinking buckets should be kept separate in the paddock/winning enclosure, box park etc.  This includes drinking buckets not being dipped in troughs, and of course they should be disinfected between races.
  • Horse Ambulances?  Racecourses have not been asked to carry out any different procedures than normal but regular disinfecting is important
  • Scanning horses?  There is no need to scan horses.

Amateur Jockeys Association Supports Pony Racing

The PRA are delighted that the Amateur Jockeys Association are sponsoring the best turned out in each race in the 2018 Charles Owen Series.

The Amateur Jockeys Association and the Pony Racing Authority have always worked closely together. Clarissa Daly from the PRA said, “We are delighted the Amateur Jockeys Association are supporting the Charles Owen Series. The pony racers of today will be the amateur jockeys of the future so it is a natural link.”

The Charles Owen Series is 24 fixtures over the summer period, with the prestigious finals set to be run at York Racecourse on 9th September 2018. The best turned out is judged by someone from the Racecourse and each winner is presented with prize kindly provided by the Amateur Jockeys Association.

Sarah Oliver of the AJA said: “The AJA are really pleased to have the opportunity to support pony racing which provides the best possible foundations for amateur jockeys to start their careers and instills in them many invaluable disciplines and skills.  We wish this summer’s pony racers the best of luck for a great season ahead.”

CareersinRacing Diary Competition 2018

CareersinRacing are offering amazing prizes to the winners of the 138 cm and 148 cm Pony Racing Diary competition.

Download and print off the diary – use extra pages if needed – then at the end of the season send the diary and the entry form to CareersinRacing. The winner of the 148 cm category will win a branded exercise saddle and the winner of the 138 cm category will win a rug for their pony and a racing skin for themselves.

The diary will be judged on the overall amount you have put into your pony racing training and racing this season and what you have learnt throughout the season.

Full terms and conditions are on the entry form.

Don’t miss out – start filling in your diary now! This is open to all members of the PRA – it doesn’t matter if you have only competed in one pony race on the Point-to-Point series or lots of Charles Owen pony races – everyone’s diaries will be in with a chance of winning.

Download BHA Pony Racing Diary
Download Pony Racing Diary Entry Form

For further information contact Clarissa Daly on clarissa@ponyracingauthority.co.uk or CareersinRacing on info@careersinracing.com.