Saturday 16th April sees the Final of the Conditional Hands and Heels Series at Ayr Racecourse on what is set to be a fantastic days racing at the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival. Sixty Four jockeys have ridden in the Hands and Heels Series but 17yr old Harry Cobden is the jockey who has been at the top since the first race back in August 2015.
Harry has won two of the fifteen series races and been placed in a further 6 leaving him 31 points clear of his closest rival David Noonan. Conditional to Paul Nicholls, Harry has ridden up through the ranks after starting out pony racing and riding in Point to Points he was issued with a Conditional licence in July 2015.
Throughout the 15 race series, Jockeys are awarded points for walking the course and place points. The Jockey Coach also has the opportunity to give points to the Jockey of the day, for this they need to show professionalism, conduct themselves well and demonstrate good riding skills. In the final Jockeys will be awarded place points only, 1st place – 5pts, 2nd place – 3pts, 3rd place – 2pts and 4th place – 1 pt. Jockeys riding in the hands and heels races may carry a stick and are allowed to pull the stick through but are not allowed to use it for encouragement.
Racing Excellence runs alongside the Jockey Coaching Programme (JCP) and is the industry accreditation for all apprentice and conditional races which run under hands and heels or training race conditions. Initially set up by The British Racing School as ‘Support for Young Jockeys’ in 2006, the BHA rebranded the scheme in 2010 as ‘Racing Excellence’. In February 2014 The British Racing School took over the management of Racing Excellence and The JCP. The latter gives all Apprentices and Conditionals the opportunity to have a coach. All the coaches are ex Jockeys and can be on hand to help with fitness, riding technique, nutrition and race reviews. A coach will attend every Racing Excellence race to conduct the pre-race course walk and then will also debrief afterwards.
The Conditionals will certainly be in good hands for the final as the coach on course will be record breaking ex-jockey Peter Scudamore. Peter, 8 times Champion Jockey, rode well over 1500 winners in his 15 year career including 13 Cheltenham Festival winners.
The winner of the series will collect a £1000 prize of their choice to be used towards developing their career, this could be anything from a fuel card to a horse simulator Previous winners of the Hands and Heels Conditional Series include Sean Bowen, Jack Sherwood and Tom Garner.
For more information on Racing Excellence or the Jockey Coaching Programme please contact Jennie Durrans, [email protected] or call 01638 669039.