On one of the hottest days of the year, the competition was even hotter at The Great Racing Welfare Boat Race on Wednesday 6th September. Taking place at Windsor racecourse, the inaugural event drew entries from all corners of the racing industry with 16 teams taking to the water, including racecourses, studs, training yards and everything in between.
A thrilling day of competition saw 13 heats and two semi-finals take place, before Tweenhills Stud, a team of jockeys and The Oarsome Crew (comprising staff members from Ralph Beckett’s, Andrew Balding’s and Richard Hannon’s) went through to contest the final of the dragonboat challenge in aid of Racing Welfare.
The final was not without drama with the team of jockeys taking the victory but capsizing when celebrating past the post, but it didn’t dampen their spirits.
Crew member Harry Skelton said: “We came here to win and that’s what we did, but it’s been an absolutely great day to support Racing Welfare that does so much for racing…from jockeys, trainers, racing staff – everyone, so it’s great to support it and everyone has had a great day. The weather has been great and it has been great racing so it’s brilliant. We’ll be back next year – hopefully same again, gold medal.”
The winning team consisted of Jayne Howick (drummer, regional community executive at Racing Welfare), and jockeys Harry and Bridget Skelton, Rhys Flint, William Kennedy, Adam Wedge, Lauren O’Connor, Charlie Hammond, Nick Williams, Brendan Powell and Lorcan Williams.
After winning the trainers’ heat earlier in the day, Fergal O’Brien said: “Beating Dan Skelton and Ben Pauling has been the highlight of my season so far!
“[Supporting racing Welfare] is the reason we’re all here – it has been a massive charity for all of us – stable staff, stud staff, doesn’t matter what part of the industry you work in they’re just fantastic – for financial advice, housing advice, they’re just there for everything, just someone to talk to and it’s really important that we’re all here.”
The Cotswold-based trainer and his crew were awarded the prize for top fundraiser on the day. Also in the prizes were Dan Skelton’s team who earned the Best Turned Out award, with the trainer dressed as Willy Wonka alongside his crew of Oompa Loompas!
Crucially, as well as providing a huge amount of fun and entertainment, the event is on course to have raised in the region of £10,000 in vital funds for Racing Welfare, helping the charity to support everyone working in the industry. This would not have been possible without the support of event sponsors Qatar Racing, Windsor racecourse for providing the perfect venue, RaceTech for their fantastic services in streaming and recording the action, and media partner Sky Sports Racing.
David Redvers, Qatar Racing’s Racing Manager, said: “We were delighted to sponsor and take part in the Great Racing Welfare Boat Race on Wednesday – a fantastic charity which provides support to the entire racing community.
“It was a great day, very much enjoyed by all involved and I am confident that the event will grow and grow to become one of the highlights of the racing calendar, drawing all members of the racing fraternity together.”
You can still support the event and its participants by texting BOATRACE to 70085 to donate £10, or by donating via https://racingwelfare.enthuse.com/cf/the-great-racing-welfare-boat-race/post/4111278