The first race (Open race for ponies 138cm and under) was divided at the last minute to provide two exciting divisions. Seven runners, all with good form over this distance, went to post in Division 1. George Crate on the fast improving Covenham Generation was quickly away together with Charlie Marshall (Rio), Tabitha Worsley (Pennyway Tapdance) and last week’s winner Leah Wright (Wayward Polly Delight). The heavy ground in the middle of the course soon found out Rio and Wayward Polly Delight, allowing Tabitha and George to open up a useful 4-length advantage as they turned for home. But Charlie Marshall was not prepared to settle for third this week and he relentlessly set about his pony, managing to catch the leading pair as they approached the finish. In one of the most exciting finishes we have seen this season there was little to tell between the three of them as they crossed the line. Charlie’s efforts were rewarded with a win by a neck from Tabitha in second and George in third by only a head.
The second division was contested by the more typical hunting ponies (perhaps a little hairier than their division 1 counterparts!) and again we were treated to a nail biting finish. All were quick from the start but Sammy (Beth Giddings) and Quizzie (Quentin Wedmore) soon found their early pace was not sustainable in the heavy ground and so were dropped back by their jockeys. This left Katie Featherstone and Broomhills Sandmartin together with George Gorman (Jack) and Jordan Peerless (Rosie) to go on. As they met the rising ground towards the finish, Katie looked full of running and she drew easily away to win by a distance. There was a battle royal for second place, with George Gorman just prevailing by a neck with a demonstration of some determined riding. Jordan was hopefully consoled when she was awarded the prize for best potential jockey from all 3 races.
Ten went to post for the 148cm and under Open race. Despite ground conditions these ponies travelled extremely fast and fluently. As they turned for home the four contenders looked to be Freddie Mitchell (Bob III), Chloe Willett (Little Quaker), Jake Wright (Turtle Project) and Lizzy Norman who can never be discounted on the fast finishing Flash IV. Not one of the jockeys was prepared to give in and we had yet another exciting finish on our hands. The winning pony was Little Quaker (Chloe) by a neck from Bob III (Freddie) in a time of 1minute 22sec. Jake had to settle for third place by only a neck.
The next pony racing will be at PEPER HARROW (10 May) where the novice finals are to be held and at PLUMPTON RACECOURSE (11 May) for the Open finals. Please do come and cheer on the kids who have shown us so much sport this season.