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The Racecourse Series is the crème de la crème of Pony Racing.
Taking place on a racecourse before or after professional racing, two races are staged each time with ponies and riders having qualified to compete.
Fast, furious and competitive, Racecourse Series Pony Races can easily be mistaken for being “the real thing.” They take place between April and October with points accumulated for the finals, the pinnacle of the Pony Racing season.
The whole experience mirrors professional racing to give those involved an insight and understanding as to how the professional sport operates. The PRA steward and BHA Jockey Coach oversee the pony races on the day alongside the BHA Starter, Judge and Clerk of the Scales.
The Racecourse Series is the showcase for the sport.
Each race has a Best Turned Out and the series has a Riders’ Championship and Leading Pony Awards.
In addition, we have the Rose Bengal Scholarship Awards. These are awarded to the rider in each category who the PRA Steward and BHA Jockey Coach believe to have improved the most throughout the series.
Racecourse Series Races in 2020
All race details correct at time of going to print (13 February 2020).
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 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.
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.
The Racecourse Series Finals
In the past we have been lucky enough for the finals to have been held at some fabulous venues including Cheltenham, Newmarket, York and Newbury. Competitors, their families and friends are invited to come and celebrate the childrens’ success over the season. The Finals this year will be held at Aintree Racecourse on Sunday 25th October 2020.
The Rose Bengal Awards
These awards are once again sponsored by the Prince Family in memory of their successful racing pony Rose Bengal. The awards recognise riders each year for their hard work and success.
The Scholarship Award is for the rider who has shown most improvement throughout the season. The winners are chosen from nominations made by the Steward and the Jockey Coach throughout the season. The winners get a personalised jacket, a pony racing saddle and an individual session with a BHA Qualified Jockey Coach.
These Awards, along with many others for the season, are presented at the end of season lunch. This is preceded by a yard or stud visit and is a great chance for everyone to get together without ponies to worry about!