Pony racing widens its appeal with launch of novice rider race series
Young riders with ordinary ponies are being encouraged to give pony racing a try with the launch this month of the Treehouse Sporting Colours Novice Rider Race Series.
Fourteen races will be staged at point-to-point meetings across the country from March to May, and those finishing 1st-4th will be eligible to enter and run in the finals at the Meynell & South Staffordshire Point-to-Point at Garthorpe on Saturday, 4 June.
Lucy Tucker from the Pony Racing Authority, said: “The Novice Rider Race series is specifically designed for those relatively new to pony racing who want to have a go and be competitive alongside others who are of a similar ability. So we are saying to riders with genuine Pony Club and hunting type ponies, these races are just for you, and we can promise you a fantastic day’s experience being treated like a proper jockey and competing on a racecourse!”
Pony racing is aimed at nine to fifteen years olds, and experiencing a race day is just as important as the final placings, as Lucy explained: “The children get to parade in the paddock before their race, and are escorted to the start by riders from the host hunt. After tack safety checks, the races are started under the careful supervision of stewards and officials. There’s no jumping involved, and the races are generally around four to nine furlongs. Then it’s back to the winner’s enclosure and prize-giving to celebrate the achievement of all the jockeys taking part.”
Theresa Morris, from title sponsor Treehouse Sporting Colours, said: “We’ve always supported pony racing right from the start, and are thrilled to be involved with the Novice Rider Series. Point-to-points are a fantastic way to introduce young riders to racing, the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming and the emphasis is always on making sure the children have fun. Good luck to all the young jockeys starting out this season!”
Lucy Tucker added: “With the generous support of Treehouse Sporting Colours as title sponsor for the Novice Rider Series, I am delighted that we can open up pony racing to even more young riders to encourage them to give it a try.”
Pony racing at point-to-points is regulated to strict safety standards by the Pony Racing Authority, working closely with the Point-to-Point Authority. Since the point-to-point pony racing started on 7 February 2016, 8 out of 79 point-to-point fixtures have staged their pony races, with 140 entries and 117 runners to date.
Entries are open for the first Novice Rider Series race at the Bicester with Whaddon Chase point-to-point on Sunday, 13 March: closing deadline is 6pm Saturday 5 March.
Photo credit: Neale Blackburn, www.chasdog.com
– Bicester with Whaddon Chase at Whitfield on 13 March 2016
– Lanarkshire & Renfrewshire and Eglinton at Overton on 19 March 2016
– Mendip Farmers at Ston Easton on 20 March 2016 Sun
– Ledbury at Maisemore Park on Saturday, 26 March 2016
– Essex at High Easter on 9 April 2016
– Cotswold at Andoversford on 10 April 2016
– Southdown & Eridge at Godstone on 10 April 2016
– Fife at Balcormo Mains on 23 April 2016
– Lauderdale at Mosshouses on 1 May 2016
– Radnor & West Hereford at Cold Harbourn on 1 May 2016
– Dulverton West at Bratton Down on 15 May 2016
– Grafton Whitfield Sunday, 15 May 2016 Sun, 8 May SM
– Knutsford Races Club at Tabley on 22 May 2016
– North Hereford at Hereford Racecourse on 29 May 2016
Race Conditions are:
- For Riders who have never WON an OPEN PtP Pony or Pony Club Race and who have NEVER taken part in the Charles Owen Summer Racecourse Series.
- For genuine Pony Club & hunting type ponies measuring 148cms & under and who have not have been placed 1st -2nd since January 2014 in any recognized pony race. Combinations must be qualified as per the Regulations for Pony Races at entry. Those who finish 1st-4th will be eligible to enter and run in the finals at the Meynell & South Staffordshire Point-to-Point at Garthorpe on Saturday, 4th June. Any combination winning two of the qualifying races won’t be eligible to enter any further qualifying races.Once a combination has won two of the qualifying races they will no longer be eligible to compete in the qualifying races until the Championship Finals, which will be staged on Saturday, 4th June at Garthorpe.
The rider with the most points at the end of the season and who is eligible and wishes to ride in point-to-point races the following season will be awarded £500 sponsorship under the Point-to-Point Riders Sponsorship Scheme (RSS) which can be put towards the costs associated with medicals and Riders Qualification Certificates (RQC’s) required to be able to ride in point-to-point races.
Points are being given to the first four past the post 1st:7, 2nd: 5, 3rd: 3 and 4th: 1. Presentations will be made to both the 148cms & 138cms rider with the most points at Cheltenham Racecourse.
Point-to-point pony racing sponsors
RaceTech Media www.racetech.co.uk
Broadcast media services company RaceTech is the main sponsor for point-to-point pony racing, sponsoring the Championship Rider Titles and Pony Racing Graduate awards during the 2016 season.
Treehouse Sporting Colours www.treehouseonline.co.uk
Equestrian safety wear specialists Treehouse Sporting Colours sponsors the 14 races in the Novice Rider Series during the 2016 season.
Dunraven Stud www.dunravenstud.com
Dunraven Stud sponsors the 2016 point-to-point pony racing planner which is distributed to all PRA members.