Teenage jockey makes history by riding last pony race and winning first point-to-point race on same day
Pony racing and point-to-pointing are all in a day’s work for teenage jockey Ben Godfrey who made history by riding in a pony race before switching colours and winning his debut ride in the Hunt Members’ race at Seavington Hunt point-to-point on Sunday (17 April 2016).
Sixteen-year-old Ben Godfrey had a rapid wardrobe change after taking second place on Calypso in the 148cm pony race and switching colours to win the opening Hunt Members race on Sobre Tresor, trained by Chloe Newman.
An experienced pony racer with ten wins under his belt, Ben became eligible to ride in point-to-points after turning sixteen in March. Having entered the Hunt Members’ race at Seavington, it meant the morning’s pony race would be his last, as his mother Sally explained:
“Ben’s loved his pony racing, which has kept him going all the way. He went up to the British Racing School in February for a two-day course which was fantastic and having the RaceTech Graduate Award has made a great difference in helping with costs of training and competing – he’s also done some riding out. Having hunted with the Seavington last season, Ben’s really ready to go pointing now – even though he hasn’t been quite as ready to give up his pony to his little brother! “
Sally Godfrey added: “Having to make such a quick change after the pony race, meant Ben didn’t have time to worry about his next ride. Earlier, he had received help walking the course and guidance from Josh Newman, an ex pony racer, which helped to calm his nerves. Ben’s main aim was to get round, and the horse is a lovely school master type, perfectly capable. Ben rode to orders and it couldn’t have gone better for him.”
Clarissa Daly from the Pony Racing Authority commented: “Pony racing is proving to be a very strong foundation for young people to enter the horse racing industry and we’re always looking for ways to give our young jockeys a helping hand. This special graduate award from RaceTech gives the best jockeys who are coming to the end of their point-to-point pony racing a significant financial boost to take up extra training and competition opportunities, and get ready to enter the adult world of racing.”
What are the next steps for Ben? Sally said: “We’re taking it a step at a time. Ben knows he needs to concentrate on his GCSEs and then, who knows what’s next?”