With the Point-to-Point season only just a couple of weeks away, we take a closer look at some of the younger jockeys who will be competing in the Devon & Cornwall area this season, and a look at the horses they are hoping to ride.
Hannah Welch from Buckfastleigh in Devon, is currently studying for her A levels at King’s College in Taunton. Hannah’s parents George and Rebecca Welch are keen race goers themselves and Hannah relies on mum Rebecca to train some of their homebred horses for Pointing, whilst Hannah is busy studying.
18 year-old Hannah admits she rode before she could walk, and her progression from ponies to horses was inevitable.
“My first pony was an ancient Dartmoor called Camilla. I used to show her, and I subsequently did a lot of hunting and pony clubbing on various ponies, but my first race win was on a 138cm pony called Bronze Lawrance. I progressed onto 148cm ponies with Vadlawalkover and Total Eclipse.”
Having ridden no less than 48 winners in pony racing, Hannah admits to be given some amazing ponies to ride.
Graduating onto horses, Hannah explained “My first Point-to-Point ride was on a horse called Jopero, I couldn’t have asked for a better schoolmaster.” Hannah’s first win came at Flete Park where she rode the Sam Holdsworth-trained Vertige Dore in the hunt race.
Hannah followed up with four winners last season. “I am still able to ride in Novice Riders, but I will compete in Ladies’ Opens and as many of the other races as I can.” she explained.
Among the horses that Hannah will be riding this season is one of her mum Rebecca’s homebred geldings Great Camanoe. Hannah sustained an injury from a fall on Great Camanoe at Buckfastleigh last February, having travelled well until four fences from home. She was unable to ride for a few weeks, so jockey Jake Bament was invited to ride Great Camanoe at the East Cornwall meeting at Great Trethew, in case Hannah was still injured. The combination was sent off at 20-1 and came home three lengths ahead of the favourite Whatastormnorm. Jake was again invited to ride Great Camanoe at the second meeting at Great Trethew, pleasing their connections by winning by a neck ahead of Theatre Goer in a thrilling finish. Great Camanoe looks to be progressive and was unlucky to be brought down at the second fence in his only Intermediate run to date when ridden by Robbie Henderson at Upcott Cross.
Hannah didn’t miss out on a ride at Great Trethew, as she steered home the ex –French hurdler Polo The Mumm to win his Maiden race. She has since enjoyed some fun over the summer months National Hunt racing him at Newton Abbot for trainer Jimmy Frost.
The Irish bred Goldwell sired five– year-old gelding Carumba is a new horse for Hannah to ride, having clocked up some promising thirds in Ireland before coming to the UK it looks to be a promising youngster. With Hannah’s most wins to date coming on the Charles Stanley owned French bred Beuvron, she again hopes to maintain the ride. Beuvron won a hurdle race in Aix Les-Bains in France before joining trainer Sam Holdsworth.
“I have ridden Beuvron in all three of his Point-to-Point wins, with the first coming in the way of the Ladies’ Open at Black Forest Lodge last February. We then won another Ladies’ race at Wadebridge, followed by the Members’ at Buckfastleigh. I am really looking forward to riding him again this season if Mr Stanley will let me.” Hannah explained.
Hannah’s aim this season is to ride more winners, and graduate from school after which she is planning to join trainer Clive Cox as pupil assistant.