Young jockeys set to star at Olympia, the London international horse show

Another sensational Shetland Pony Grand National season will reach its climax at Olympia
Credit : London International Horse Show

Wednesday 13 November - 14h52 | Press Release

Young jockeys set to star at Olympia, the London international horse show

Another sensational Shetland Pony Grand National season will reach its climax at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, which takes place from 16-22 December 2019. A stepping stone for young up-and-coming jockeys, The Saracen Horse Feeds Shetland Pony Grand National will feature daily, showcasing the next generation of jockeys coming through the pony racing ranks.  

The Saracen Horse Feeds Shetland Pony Grand National at Olympia is the pinnacle of the season for the runners and riders, following months of competing around the country, with the aim of being selected to compete at the prestigious Show. The 11 jockeys and their ponies have been chosen on merit based on their performances throughout the season, which included appearances at Newmarket’s infamous Rowley Mile Racecourse and Burghley Horse Trials.
There will be several familiar names taking centre stage at Olympia Grand this year, with five children of well-known racing families taking the spotlight from their famous fathers. Nine-year-old Lucas Murphy, son of Grand National-winning jockey Timmy Murphy, made a successful start to his Shetland Pony Grand National career in 2018 culminating in victory at Olympia last year, something he will be seeking to emulate in 2019. Wearing the famous colours worn by his father when winning the Grand National aboard Comply or Die in 2008, Lucas will be one to watch as he takes to the track on Mr D Shepherd’s Cranford Fantastic, the winning combination at the Burghley Horse Trials leg in September.
Another former Grand National winner, Leighton Aspell, who was victorious in the prestigious Aintree race in both 2014 and 2015, will be on the sidelines at Olympia as he makes way for daughters Niamh and Lucy, who will both be making a deserved return to the iconic venue and will be using their experience to navigate the miniature Grand National course to the best of their abilities.

Freddie Keighley, son of National Hunt trainer Martin Keighley, will be making his Olympia debut at this year’s Show. The eight-year-old is in his first year on the Shetland Pony Grand National circuit, which is for children between the ages of eight and 14 years old, who are under five-foot tall.
Following his selection Freddie said: \"I can\'t believe I\'ve managed to be selected for Olympia in my first season on Blackie [Brewards Kerwen]. He\'s improved so much and I\'m so proud of him. My parents have been taking me and my brother Harry to Olympia especially to watch the Shetland Pony Grand National for years and I am so excited to now be riding in it. It\'s a dream come true!”
Lily Phelan will also be representing a renowned National Hunt family as she returns to Olympia, this year with new ride Sedgehill Talisman, who has shown remarkable improvement throughout the season and will be coming to the Show in excellent form.
Bringing further illustrious racing links to Olympia Grand this year will be Zak Kent, who will be wearing the famous blue and white silks of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, colours carried to victory in more than 50 international Group One races including 14 European Classics, the Melbourne Cup, Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Dubai World Cup. The 12-year-old was involved in one of the highlights of the season, when beating rival Lucas Murphy by a nose-length in a photo finish at Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire Meeting, holding off a late challenge from Murphy at the end of the two-and-a-half-furlong contest.
Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said: “The Saracen Horse Feeds Shetland Pony Grand National is always a crowd pleaser at Olympia and it’s great to be able to provide a platform for the country’s next generation of jockeys to demonstrate their talents on the international stage.”
In addition to the competitive element of The Saracen Horse Feeds Shetland Pony Grand National, the young jockeys will be using the Show to raise funds and awareness for The Bob Champion Cancer Trust. The Trust was set up by Grand National-winning jockey, Bob Champion, who won the race aboard Aldaniti in 1981, having been diagnosed with cancer just two years previously. To date the children involved in the Shetland Pony Grand National 2019 series have raised over £70,000 for the charity and will continue with their fundraising efforts at Olympia.

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