The next generation of young jockeys is set to take to the turf for the 2015 Shetland pony gold cup at Plumpton racecourse on Monday 19 October.
There will be some familiar racing names lining up during the Sussex venue’s Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre Raceday. The meeting supports the West Sussex-based charity, which re-schools and rehabilitates former racehorses ready for a second career.
Olive Nicholls, the daughter of nine-time champion National Hunt trainer Paul, will don the familiar red, white and black colours of The Stewart Family to partner Little Bucks — in the hope they can emulate his rather bigger namesake. Nine-year-old Olive, whose older half-sister Megan holds an apprentice jockey’s licence, was spotted racing at the Royal Windsor Horse Show earlier this year.
Ben Hemmings, the grandson of three-time winning Grand National owner Trevor, will team up with Mini Clouds. The 12-year-old will wear his grandfather’s green, yellow and white colours. The famous silks were carried to victory at Aintree in 2005 by Hedgehunter, in 2011 by Ballabriggs — and this year by the Oliver Sherwood-trained Many Clouds.
“I’ve taken part in a few of these races but my pony isn’t the fastest — I can’t wait until I’m old enough to ride grandad’s horses,” said Ben.
The daughter of former champion Flat jockey Seb Saunders, 12-year-old Darcey, will be aboard Bankserve Boy for owner Peter Mellett, who is a regular supporter of Plumpton racecourse.
The race, which will take place in front of the grandstand, will go to post at 1.50pm ahead of racing. A total of 18 jockeys and their mini mounts will contest the Andy Stewart Charitable Foundation-sponsored race and will be parading beforehand in the paddock.
The Shetland Grand National is the culmination of the 2015 Shetland Pony racing season and takes place at Olympia, the London International Horse Show, from 15-21 December.