The Pony Club Victoria’s Ride to Time final held at Moonee Valley was a huge thrill for the 20 young riders who qualified in trials across the state.
They got to gallop on the hallowed turf where the world-famous Cox Plate is run and rubbed shoulders with the elite jockeys Greg Childs and Michelle Payne.
“Our biggest gratitude is to the entire team at Moonee Valley Racing Club who welcomed Pony Club Victoria once again,” proud pony club mum Janice Gorick, whose daughter Tracy was a finalist, said.
“To ride on ‘the valley’ turf at a race day is truly special for riders and a memory of a lifetime.”
Ride To Time is a competition that rewards the combination who travels the closest to an optimum set speed.
Two sections compete, open and maiden. Open riders aim to complete 1000m in the optimum time of 109 seconds, maiden riders 1000m in 120 seconds.
This skill is important for cross country riding and can equip riders to be employed as track riders with racing stables.
At the finals, riders wear racing silks either borrowed from family or friends or from stables they work at.
Those who haven’t their own silks are loaned a set by Moonee Valley and this year riders competed in legendary silks of champions including Sunline, Dulcify, Better Loosen Up, Fields of Omagh, Bonecrusher, Northerly and Kingston Town.
More than half the field was aboard off-the-track horses showing just how many find a home at pony club after racing.
The open section was won by Jessica Norman from Barwon Zone, riding her retired racehorse Way To Go Bo to finish just 0.03 seconds off the optimum time. Jessica, who turned 21 on the day, competed in Ciaron Maher racing silks as she has previously worked for this stable.
Spike Lynch, of the Southern Metro Zone, rode his Standardbred Apprehend to take out the maiden championship, finishing 0.16 seconds off the optimum time.
The best presented open was won by Makayla Lowther (Central Zone) on her off-the-track Thoroughbred Longclaw and the best presented maiden was Tamika Coggan and Miss Indienna Blue (Central Zone).
The trophy for the zone with the most participants went to Southern Metro.
This article appeared on The Regional on 13 September 2023.
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