‘I want to win the Champion Hurdle with a Dartmoor cross’

  • A 12-year-old who dreams of becoming a professional jockey has had his best season’s pony racing on a part-bred Dartmoor.

    Walter Fisher Barnett, 12, had one win and two placings on the west country circuit with Superman, a 128cm half-thoroughbred bred by his mother Amanda Fisher Barnett, a former point-to-point trainer.

    “The flag went down and Superman just flew,” she said.

    “Walt is tiny, but after his win this year he walked like someone 6ft tall.”

    Sister Ruby, 10, has also been racing, been placed twice this season aboard March, who was born on the moor and was the family’s first racing pony.

    Superman and the family’s 140cm Batman (pictured, below) were bred from mares born on the moor put to thoroughbred stallion Wide Valley Rainbow.

    Wide Valley Batman

    Picture credit Megan Cobley

    Dartmoors are amazing, agile ponies and because I chose such a good stallion they all have a massive stride,” said Mrs Fisher Barnett, who is passionate about the breed and has 15 ponies altogether.

    “They are underestimated. The Dartmoor pony can really change your life.”

    The family have built a circuit on its 10-acre smallholding on Dartmoor on which the children practise, but nothing beats trotting up and down the Dartmoor hills for keeping the ponies racing fit.

    Next season Robin and Spiderman, both five-year-olds, will be making their debut on the track.

    “Batman is now teaching his younger brother Robin to gallop, along with Spiderman this summer, before going to the Newmarket racing school with the children,” Mrs Fisher Barnett said.

    Walter, who passed his stage 3 pony racing training at Newmarket’s Racing School last summer, wants to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather Walter Fisher, a National Hunt jockey-turned trainer, and become a professional jockey.

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    The young jockey is 4ft6in tall and weighs five stone, while his mother says he “diets and is fitness-mad“. Both children aim to become racing apprentices when they leave school.

    And Mrs Fisher Barnett is working hard to make sure they have the horsepower.

    My aim is to win the Champion Hurdle with a thoroughbred with a strain of Dartmoor blood,” she said. “It is possible.”

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