Cowdray Hunt’s Hartley Crouch is a winning jockey

Hartley Crouch preparing to race
Hartley Crouch preparing to race

AT just 13 years of age, Hartley Crouch is already well on his way to becoming a professional jockey.

Hartley has been riding since a toddler, copying his two older brothers.

A very keen huntsman, he spends the winter riding with the Chiddingfold Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt.

It all began in his first year of pony racing, where he quickly became the top novice pony racer under 148cm (the height of the pony) and second overall in the Novice National Finals in Leicestershire.

His pony is called Worth The Wait, otherwise known as Minnie at home.

Only seven years old, she had her first racing season with Hartley’s older brother Hector, now an apprentice jockey, before Hartley took her reigns.

He and Minnie have trained together at the British Racing School in Newmarket and did residential Easter Racing Camp there where they were awarded the Most Improved Rider Award.

They raced in the Novice Rider Series this year, winning both their qualifying races.

The Goodwood Race course meeting over Bank Holiday was Hartley’s first attempt at a Charles Owen race – a series of races run on racecourses throughout the country for youngsters aged 11-15.

Two races are normally run for Ponies of 138 and under and 148 and under, over distances of four furlongs and upwards.

Hartley’s future looks bright – it was in pony racing that champion jockey Frankie Dettori started his career.

Hartley is already riding in competitions alongside familiar names in race cards and famous jockeys.

He even gets to share the weighing room with them, but weighing in at just over five stone, Hartley may still be one of the lightest jockeys on the track.