Champion jockey children step into spotlight at The Game Fair’s Shetland Pony Grand National

The children of three champion jockeys are following in the footsteps of their fathers by entering the Shetland Pony Grand National races at The Game Fair 2019.

Lucy Aspell, daughter of two-time Grand National winner Leighton Aspell; Lucas Murphy, son of 2008 Grand National champion Timmy Murphy; and Alice Crowley, daughter of 2016 Flat racing champion jockey Jim Crowley, will be lining up in the Main Arena when the festival of the great British countryside returns to Hatfield House in Hertfordshire from Friday 26 to Sunday 28 July.

Bob Champion, who famously won the 1981 Grand National on Aldaniti while recovering from cancer, will also be there to support the event and his charity, The Bob Champion Cancer Trust, which has been supported by the Shetland Pony Grand National for several years.

The six Shetland Pony Grand National races are one of the highlights of the Main Arena schedule at The Game Fair. In each heat, eight ponies jump four fences on each of their two circuits of the course to compete for a place in one of the finals, with the top four finishers in each heat going through. Heats take place in two sessions at 10.15am and 3pm on Friday 26th July, and 10am and 2.45pm on the Saturday. Two finals are scheduled for 10am and 3pm on the closing day.

The Shetland Pony Grand National series, designed for aspiring jockeys aged eight to 14 who are under 5ft tall, is held at various venues across the UK, with riders and their ponies either qualifying or being selected to compete in December at The Olympia Horse Show in London.

Lucy Aspell, from Sussex, is the daughter Leighton Aspell, who won the Grand National in 2014 on Pineau de Re and in 2015 aboard Many Clouds. Lucy has competed twice in the Shetland Pony Grand National at Olympia and has won multiple races on her pony Magherdartin Beeswax.
Alice Crowley, also from Sussex, rode Hillcroft Denzel at Olympia last year, and can take inspiration from her father Jim’s career. He started out as a Shetland Pony Grand National rider too before going on to enjoy a successful career as a professional jockey.

Lucas, from Gloucestershire, won a race on his pony Shelcroft Buttercup at Olypia last year. He wears the same colours his father Timmy Murphy wore when he won the 2008 Grand National with Comply Or Die.
Sebastian Garner, who oversees the Shetland Pony Grand National series, said: “For many participants, the Shetland Pony Grand National is a stepping stone to becoming a full-time jockey and over the years quite a few riders have gone on to make racing their career. Anyone who has ever been involved will say the race is definitely an adrenaline-fuelled sport and although a lot of fun it is also very serious. The riders really do compete to win.

“Lucy, Lucas and Alice have all shown that they have great potential and it is great news to confirm that they will be appearing at The Game Fair 2019 alongside many other talented up-and-coming young jockeys. Always attracting a big crowd, The Game Fair is one of the highlights on our calendar and it promises to be a great spectacle in 2019.”

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