While BBC1 focuses on the riders contesting the 160th renewal of the world’ s most famous horserace — the Grand National — on Saturday afternoon (14 April), two aspiring young jockeys will be given national airtime earlier in the day.
The duo, both members of the Vale of Aylesbury Pony Club branch, were shadowed by camera crews from the BBC’s Sportsround (the sister programme to children’s current affairs show Newsround) before a race at the Kimble point-to-point meeting last Saturday (7 April).
Albert Chandler, 11, and nine-year-old Francesca Quesnel took part in pre-race interviews, juggling stirrup leathers with media commitments in true Cheltenham Festival fashion.
“I was a bit nervous, but it was quite exciting too,” Albert told H&H.
The youngster, who is in his first year of pony racing, finished sixth in the Tower Hill Associates Open, which was his best placing to date. He also hunts the pony and attends Pony Club rallies on her.
The item was the idea of BBC reporter and rider Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes, who is based near Kimble.
“It seemed like a really good and realistic experience for young jockeys,” she told H&H.
In the end, the race was won by 12-year-old William Twiston-Davies aboard Sparky Boy.
The programme will be aired this Saturday (14 April) at 11.45am on BBC2, with the Grand National being broadcast live on BBC1 at 4.15pm.
For an in-depth analysis of this year’s Aintree field, see page 24 of the current issue of Horse & Hound (12 April, ’07)