Budding young jockeys took to the turf on Saturday (25 October) for the finals of the 2008 Charles Owen Pony Racing Series.

Two finals — 138 and under and 148cm and under — were held at Aintree racecourse, home of the Grand National.

Thirty of the top young race-riders reached the finals by competing in a series of races taking place at 20 racecourses around the UK since April.

Hector Worsley, aged 15, and Goldsborough Moonlight Mist won the 138cm race, held over 6 furlongs, while Becky Brisbourne, the 14-year-old daughter of trainer Mark Brisbourne, and Silver Mist Lady took the 148cm title over 9 furlongs.

Second in the 138cm was Tabitha Worsley and Pennway Tap Dance and 3rd was Harry Derham — nephew of champion trainer Paul Nicholls —with pony G-Whizz.

Last year’s 138cm winner Connor Flint — cousin of 2-time champion pony racer-turned conditional jockey Rhys Flint — finished 5th.

In the 148cm race Philip Price and Rose Bengal finished 2nd, Gemma Tutty and The Bossy Hobbit were 3rd while 2007 winner Sam Twiston-Davies — son of national hunt trainer Nigel — finished fourth with Otterburn Lady.

Rebecca Morgan, chief executive of the Pony Racing Authority told H&H: “The 2008 Charles Owen Pony Racing Finals were a great end to the season.

“Both races were really competitive and the ponies and riders did exceptionally well in the wet weather and soft ground.

“We look forward to seeing many of them again in 2009 — the first pony races of the new season will being at Point-to-Points in January.”

Pony racing was officially launched in 2004 and is aimed to encourage 11-15 year olds to take up race riding to sustain British jump racing.

The sport is rapidly growing in popularity and several jockeys who made their track debut as pony racers are now making a mark as conditionals including Rhys Flint, Hadden Frost and winner of the inaugural pony racing championships Felix de Giles.

ww.pra.gb.uk