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Junior Jumpers – St James City Farm


Cheltenham Racecourse

area of interest


Junior Jumpers – St James City Farm






Without the racing community, institutions like ours would be lost. With no fans to fill the stands and no jockeys to provide the spectacle, the amphitheatre of Cheltenham Racecourse would have a very different soul. That is why it is of fundamental importance to us that we support the next generation of racing enthusiasts, both on and off the track. We therefore remain uniquely committed to our Junior Jumpers initiative, which goes from strength to strength, providing young racegoers to The Jockey Club in the South West with an identity and a voice. We are always looking for ways to diversify our programmes and an opportunity presented itself for Junior Jumpers in the form of Pony Racing. Offering a glimpse into the future, a springboard for aspiring young jockeys to experience hallowed turf, showcasing their talents at fixtures such as Cheltenham’s Good Friday meeting. It was here that we met Aamilah Aswat. A girl with perfect hands and posture on a horse. Despite getting the best from her pony, she came last. For a talented rider to be so well beaten was a shame, so we did some digging. One of the wonderful things about being involved in our local community is that we come across people like Imran. While communities can make great things happen for good causes, this is the story of a good cause making great things happen for its community. Imran and his colleague Sarah support local children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to ride, have access to ponies and lessons. He is the soul of The St James City Farm; a wonderfully hidden gem at the heart of Gloucester City, with chickens, a goat, a pot-bellied pig, a few ducks, and a pony and a girl who captured hearts on Good Friday. When we met Aamilah and Imran, we knew what we wanted to do. We would purchase a pony for Aamilah and the others at St James City Farm to ride and to race, and this time be competitive. We were unprepared for the challenges ahead as pony after pony was viewed and lost. Dejected but unbeaten, we enlisted the help of Gold Cup winning trainer Noel Chance to find a pony in Ireland. A great supporter of the Racecourse, Noel rose to the challenge. After hundreds of miles of searching, he found a hugely exciting prospect, Al Buraaq Zara. A pony with fantastic bloodlines, out of Notepad by Zebedee, the progeny of stars Invincible Spirit and King’s Best. Zipping along gallops kindly lent by legendary trainer Kim Bailey, Zara began to bond with Aamilah. The pony was more than living up to expectation and Aamilah was proving that the great posture and hands we saw on Good Friday really were the marks of a budding professional jockey. Despite the challenges of lockdown, the partnership continues to grow. Aamilah keeps Zara in work, maintaining her fitness, keeping her ready for her next step, to race.

desired outcome


Getting people active

Improving mental health

Developing peoples' skills

Building stronger communities

Contributing to the economy

Accessing the outdoors and enabling volunteering

Building diversity and inclusion