The winner of last summer’s inaugural pony racing series has had his first ride under Rules.

Felix de Giles, 16, finished fourth on Father Jim, owned by his father, Jonathan, in a hunter chase at Cheltenham last week.

“Riding in pony races was a great help to Felix and enabled him to get his eye in,” said Jonathan, who also trained the horse. “Racing is Felix’s long-term objective.”

Since turning 16 in February, Felix, who hunts regularly, has won a point-
to-point for trainer John Manners.

Jonathan added: “Pony races also took the pressure off when he had his first ride in a point-to-point. They gave him a great opportunity to put into practice what he had already been learning about race riding.”

Felix, who is still at school, won last autumn’s pony racing final at Wincanton on Fitzwarren Field after qualifying by winning at Stratford in the summer.

Rebecca Morgan, Cheltenham’s commercial executive who helped establish pony racing last year, said: “We saw some very stylish jockeys in last autumn’s pony racing series. It’s encouraging to see that already riders are progressing, and may turn professional in due course. We’ll follow their careers with interest.”

This year’s series will run at 12 licensed racecourses, with a final at Aintree on 22 October.

  • This news report was first published in Horse & Hound (12 May, 05)


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