Swapping ponies for pointers: teen makes history

  • A teenager has made history by making a winning swap from ponies to pointers in one day.

    Ben Godfrey rode in his final point-to-point pony race at the Seavington Hunt fixture at Littlewindsor, Dorset, on 17 April, before switching silks to ride a winner in his point-to-point debut.

    Ben came second in the 148cm race on Calypso (pictured) before his victorious ride in the opening Hunt Members race on the Chloe Newman-trained Sobre Tresor.

    An experienced pony racer with 10 wins, the 16-year-old became eligible to ride in point-to-points on his birthday in March.

    “Having to make such a quick change after the pony race meant Ben didn’t have time to worry about his next ride,” said his mother, Sally Godfrey.

    “His main aim was to get round, and the horse is a lovely schoolmaster type, perfectly capable. Ben rode to orders and it couldn’t have gone better for him.”

    Ben Godfrey riding Calypso - taken 2015 Conditions Final web imageBen’s training was boosted by a £500 RaceTech graduate award from the Pony Racing Authority.

    This is given to the rider gaining the most points through point-to-point pony racing over a season, and who is planning to and eligible to ride in adult point-to-point races the following season.

    He also spent two days at the British Racing School in February.

    “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,” added Ms Godfrey.

    “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.”

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    Clarissa Daly, of the Pony Racing Authority, said the organisation is always looking for ways to give young jockeys “a helping hand”.

    “Pony racing is proving to be a very strong foundation for young people to enter the horse racing industry,” she said.

    “This special graduate award from RaceTech gives the best jockeys who are coming to the end of their pony racing a significant financial boost to take up extra training and competition opportunities, and get ready to enter the adult world of racing.”

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