The day started with a tour around the racecourse for riders and their families who were shown all the facilities including the Stewards’ Room, jockeys’ changing rooms with steam room and sauna. They then had a safety talk prior to racing, and Rufus was weighed out and in carrying his saddle on the same scales as the champion jockeys and the ponies paraded in the actual paddock used for all the top race horses.
In the first race, which was four furlongs, Rufus rode Top Buttons who is 12.1hh and the competition was for ponies of 12.2hh & under. Buttons was very excited and managed to buck Rufus off a few times in the paddock, then his father led a very unfazed Rufus down to the start of the race.
They didn’t get off to the best start, but galloped round the bend and up the long straight in front of the grandstand coming a fantastic 3rd and only being beaten by a neck and a head. He was lying in second place close to the finish line but in the last five meters another pony sprinted up from behind to over take and win.
In the second race, which was six furlongs, Rufus rode his pony Milkshake in a race for ponies of 14.2hh & under and riders of 16 years & under. This time he got off to a better start and was lying in second place for most of the race eventually finishing fourth behind some small and very fast thoroughbred racing ponies.
Straight after the finish a girl in front of Rufus fell off and he managed to catch the loose pony and help the poor girl and was later congratulated by the stewards for his gentlemanly behaviour.
The event was held to encourage young people in to racing, and the highlights of the day for Rufus were galloping up the home straight past the grandstands with everyone cheering, whilst also being aware of the medical vehicles following close by and the noise of galloping hooves just behind him.