From 17-23 December 2018, Olympia, The London International Horse Show, will welcome the return of the much-loved Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National, a fast and furious race showcasing some of the UK’s young, talented, and up-and-coming jockeys.
This year’s line-up features some of the brightest young names in horse racing, including: Olive Nicholls, daughter of 10-time British National Hunt Champion Trainer, Paul Nicholls, who no doubt will be giving Olive a tip or two in her preparations for Olympia. Nicholls will compete against Alice Crowley, daughter of 2016 British Flat Racing Champion Jockey, Jim Crowley. The pair has the equestrian genes to contend, but how will they fare in Olympia’s Grand Hall?
Entrants are required to be aged 8-14 and must be under five feet tall. Riders race around a track, jumping obstacles mimicking those at the Aintree Grand National, only in miniature form. The event is the pinnacle of the Shetland Pony Grand National calendar and is set to attract hordes of spectators from the 90,000 attendees, who are due to visit Olympia over its seven days of competition.
Although undoubtedly a fun-filled event, there is also a real spirit of competitiveness among the riders. Many of them are aiming to emulate past competitors, who have graduated from the Shetland Pony Grand National to become professional equestrians, including Sam Twiston-Davies and Tom Garner, who are now established names on the racing circuit.
Following in the footsteps of the Twiston-Davies brothers, Gloucestershire has another Shetland Pony Grand National competitor tipped for the top: nine-year-old Lucas Murphy, whose father, Timmy Murphy, has ridden over 1,000 winners in the professional jump racing world. Joining Murphy and his pony Shelcroft Buttercup will be Lucy Aspell, daughter of back-to-back Grand National winner, Leighton Aspell. Aspell will be returning for her second successive year at Olympia and is likely to pull out all the stops to go the distance.
All proceeds from the Shetland Pony Grand National will go to the nominated charity, The Bob Champion Cancer Trust. Founded in 1983, the charity has raised an incredible £16 million for cancer research and will be the direct beneficiary of the money raised by the young jockeys, who last year managed to raise a terrific £42,500.
For more information on how to purchase tickets, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0844 995 0995.