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Photo gallery: Shetland Pony Grand National place for eight-year-old aspiring jockey from Reydon

PUBLISHED: 10:04 29 April 2014 | UPDATED: 10:04 29 April 2014

Eight-year-old rider Jack Wilmot from Reydon on Cochno Nero

Eight-year-old rider Jack Wilmot from Reydon on Cochno Nero

Archant

Thousands of jockeys dream of taking part in the ultimate test, the Grand National.

The Shetland Pony Grand National

The Shetland Pony Grand National is a not-for-profit organisation that raises funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital by appearing at shows and fairs throughout the summer.

It is normally open to riders aged between nine and 14-years-old.

The young jockeys will also be competing for a place at the Olympia Horse Show in London in December, when the top 10 qualifying riders will race twice a day in the arena - something Jack will be eligible to qualify for in 2015.

Last year, the Shetland Pony Grand National raised £22,000 and aims to raise £55,000 this year to fund a new recovery suite at the hospital in London.

Each rider must cover their own costs, normally through sponsorship.

But one eight-year-old East Anglian boy has got the jump on the field of rivals.

For horse-mad Jack Wilmot has been selected to take part in the Shetland Pony Grand National display team and is believed to be the youngest person to have ever got the nod.

Jack, who attends St Felix School in Reydon, has got his nose ahead despite the team normally being open to riders aged between nine and 14 years old.

Having proved his ability at an early age, he now needs to raise £1,800 in sponsorship so he can join the display team as they stage Shetland pony races at game fairs and county shows throughout the country this summer in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The money will cover the cost of taking part so that all the funds raised can go to the charity.

But the family need to raise the money in the next few weeks or Jack will be forced to pull out of the

team.

Jack’s mum Kerry, who is the head of the St Felix School equestrian team, said: “He would love nothing more than to take part and I would love to see him do it.”

Jack’s long-term goal is to become a professional jockey and he currently has a pony on loan to him called Fizzy Cola, which he keeps at Brambles Drift yard in Reydon.

Mrs Wilmot, whose husband Chris runs Southwold Auto Services, said being part of the Shetland Pony Grand National would be like a dream come true for their son.

“It means so much to him and he is just so dedicated,” she said. “He is out jumping fences even in the pouring rain.”

For the display team, Jack has been partnered with a pony called Cochno Nero – a 13-year-old gelding that has previously qualified for the race finals at Olympia Horse Show in London.

In return for sponsorship, Jack and Nero will carry the sponsor company’s name on their green and gold racing colours at more than 10 events this summer, including the Badminton Horse Trials, Royal Windsor Horse Show, Suffolk County Show, Hertfordshire County Show and Enfield Chase Country Day.

Contact Mrs Wilmot on 07990 753698 or email kwilmot@stfelix.co.uk to sponsor Jack

Have you got a Reydon story? Email kathryn.bradley@archant.co.uk

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