Young jockeys and their mini mounts kicked off proceedings at Plumpton racecourse on Monday (19 October) during the 2015 Shetland pony gold cup.
Sixteen runners lined up in the race, sponsored by the Andy Stewart Charitable Foundation, owner of record breaking hurdler Big Buck’s. 14-year-old Bradley Kent and Bugsey passed the post first.
“We haven’t had him for very long and he’s still quite young — he was hanging quite a lot to the lorries,” said Essex-based Bradley, who described the race as “fast” following his triumph.
The youngster, an aspiring Flat jockey, also rides in pony races and has already notched up 20 wins. As part of his prize, Bradley and his family were invited to spend a night at the Goring Hotel in London — a prize sponsored by team chasing supporter George Goring.
Bradley beat some well-known racing names within the line-up including Paul Nicholls’ nine-year-old daughter Olive and three-time winning Grand National owner Trevor Hemmings’ grandson Ben. Former champion Flat jockey Seb Saunders’ daughter, Darcey, was also riding.
The raceday raised an impressive £63,000 for the Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre, which is dedicated to the rehabilitation and rehoming of former racehorses.
“Our Moorcroft race meeting was a great success, despite issues with the level crossing in the village,” said Kate Hills of Plumpton racecourse. “We raised a fantastic amount for this dedicated organisation — it does tremendous work and is close to the heart of many racegoers.”
More young jockeys will be going head-to-head this weekend (Sunday 25 October) during the Charles Owen racecourse series finals — the prestigious pony racing finals held this year at Aintree.
14-year-old James Bowen, son of National Hunt trainer Peter and brother of jockey Sean, will be riding his pony Cudlic Verona. James was victorious in the 138cm final in 2013.