OXFORDSHIRE’S Amber Jackson-Fennell is aiming high this year.

The 21-year-old, originally from Pembrokeshire and now based near Chipping Norton, finished last season early to retain her novice status.

Jackson-Fennell is now seeking to make a bold bid to claim the Novice Ladies’ Championship this year.

She currently has two to run – Get Bye and Grenadine Save. Both have been placed this season, although Bennaway and Queen Kalamba will come back in training shortly and Heaven Scent, who won the Oriental Club final at Godstone last year, will reappear in the spring.

“We’ll give her free rein once the weather is warmer and the races start thinning out,” Jackson-Fennell told pointtopoint.co.uk.

“We’d always wanted to win the race, it’s perfect for a yard like ours, and it was quite emotional as she was our first winner.”

While her riding career began in 2019, it all started to come together for Jackson-Fennell last season.

“Richard [Hobson] gave me a lot of opportunities and as many rides as he could during Covid, so when I made the move – which came about because Charlie [Longsdon] had been my jockey coach – to Fran and Charlie’s [Poste], not many novice riders had as much experience under rules as me,” she said.

“And a good novice can get horses to run well. I’m hoping to ride the likes of Fan Club Aulmes, For Rita, Hung Jury and Champion Chase for them this season, maybe others.

“And I’ll be calling other trainers who haven’t got a jockey booked for a novice riders race.

“Being ladies novice champion this season is 100 per cent my aim and I’ll do whatever I can to achieve it.”

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On why more young people aren’t taking up the sport, Jackson-Fennell said: “The problem is cost. You need a lot of money, and you don’t get anything back.

“I couldn’t do it without mum – I suppose I’m lucky because I’m an only child but all our money is spent on the horses.

“Buying them isn’t the issue, as we only buy cheap ones. We won’t spend lots of money as anything could happen, it’s keeping them and we couldn’t afford to pay training fees.

“You also need knowledge and it’s hard if you don’t work in racing already.

“That’s why we decided to own and train our own horses – we knew outside opportunities would be sparse, as I’m not from a racing background.

“I do it because I love the horses. I enjoy the routine of working during the week and pointing at the weekend, travelling round the country, catching up with friends.”