The weather was certainly the greatest test for all the pony racers on Saturday at Charing as freezing temperatures were accompanied by a biting wind and intermittent hailstorms. Proving themselves to be a hardy bunch, six novice riders went to post to contest the 138cms and under race. Rebecca Cushen, having her first ever ride, remained admirably calm as she was led to post on the excitable Molly. She also demonstrated some real skill to stay aboard as Molly plunged through the start to take up the rear of the field. Hugo Pearson-Wood on the ever-improving Ninfield Millionaires Delight, Joshua Thompson on Balfour Tia Dora and Chloe Durkan on Barndale Playtime soon broke away from the slightly heavier built ponies. However, Megan Wrenn and Freddie together with Sophie Thorbeck on Satanta showed their determination as they galloped gamely across the skyline. Rebecca Cushen soon had Molly settled and they quickly made their way into mid division leaving Megan and Sophie to fight it out for the minors. At the final bend there was little to tell between Hugo and Joshua, but the last hill started to tell on Balfour Tia Dora who despite the determined urgings of his jockey could not make up the deficit. Ninfield Millionaires Delight crossed the line first to give Hugo Pearson-Wood his first victory, with Joshua in second, and Chloe in third. The distances were 9 lengths and 3 lengths in a time of 2.05 mins
The 148cm and under Open race certainly looked to be hotly contested and we were not disappointed. Fleeting Image under Oswald Wedmore was the first to show with the experienced ponies Flash1V (Lizzie Norman) and TLBM (Hector Worsley) in the leading group together with Maryann Cushen on Strongbow, Stewart Wright on Royton and Tabitha Worsley on Chukka. The early pace was a little quick for the likes of Martini (Sophie Knight) and Topper (Martha Knight) who were settled comfortably at the rear by their jockeys. Fleeting Image led the field down the hill until Oswald found he had no more to give and conceded the lead to Strongbow, Flash and TLBM. Lizzy Norman could not close the deficit in the final stages and Maryann took first place, Lizzy second and Hector third. Stewart on Royton took fourth place and Tabitha fifth. The distances were 8 length and 2 lengths in a time of 1.51 mins. The race of the skewbalds at the rear of the field was won by Sophie Knight on Martini who crossed the line narrowly in front of her sister.