Edward Gillespie, former managing director of Cheltenham racecourse, has been named the new chairman of the Pony Racing Authority.

Edward, who stepped down last year after 32 years at the Cheltenham helm, takes over from Charles Barnett.

Pony racing has been running in Britain since 2004 and in the past eight years the sport has grown rapidly.

“It is such an exciting time for Pony Racing with some great initiatives planned,” said Clarissa Daly, chief executive of the Pony Racing Authority.

“With Edward’s experience, passion and knowledge we really should be able to take the sport to the next level.

“Over 100 graduates from Pony Racing have already gone on to ride under Rules with many more working within the racing industry; we are aiming to provide many more.

“We are committed to increase the numbers from non-racing and non-horsey backgrounds and to make racing more accessible to children and young people from all walks of life. With Edward as our new chairman we are better placed than ever to achieve this.”

Edward added: “Pony Racing in Britain is a massive success story. I feel greatly honoured to be asked to chair the PRA and shall do all I can to help the board, executive and the extensive support group build on that success.”

For more information visit: www.ponyracingauthority.co.uk