Twelve riders took on the challenge of riding in a charity race on Sunday 26th February at Larkhill’s Lycetts South and West Wilts Hunt Point-to-Point.
The Simon Earle Racing Charity Flat Race in Aid of Racing Welfare gave riders the opportunity to test their jockeyship in a bid to take the honours, while raising valuable funds for British horseracing’s human welfare charity. Between them, they collectively raised more than £7,000, with a bucket collection bringing the total up to £7,211.
Set over 12 furlongs, the race was split into two groups – one being for Thoroughbreds and the other for non-Thoroughbreds. Steph Davies took the spoils in the former, winning by a healthy couple of lengths aboard four-year-old bay filly All About Me, while Lauren Bushnell took the latter aboard her 14.2 Irish pony Dollar.
Brian Watson, regional welfare manager for the west region said: “We are extremely grateful to Simon for staging this race in support of Racing Welfare – not only for the vital funds raised, but also in helping to raise awareness of our services within the Point-to-Point community so that hopefully more people working in this sector will know that we’re here for them. It was a fantastic effort by all the riders and we’d like to extend our thanks to them for taking part and helping us to be there for all of racing’s people.”
Simon Earle said of the event: “It personally for me is very rewarding holding and organising the charity race on a number of fronts. I have been in racing since I was 14 and, although the issues facing racing staff have changed drastically since those early years, these people still face challenges in life.
“Not only is Racing Welfare helping those humans but indirectly they maybe helping the horse too sometimes; staff that are supported and helped are happier and therefore happier horses. Racing Welfare is key in the support that these people deserve, so Racing Welfare is the number one charity for me and always will be, thank you for what you are doing.
“The Charity Race Day is fantastic – it brings many wonderful stories about the horses and riders. The riders always love it, some of them fulfilling their dream of riding in a race. Sometimes seeing the love that they have for their horse and connection can be very special and friendships are often made between the riders. Just standing and watching them come off the track after and seeing the smiles on their tired faces is pretty cool. Some travel miles and raise well over the required amount.”
A special mention must also go to top fundraiser Alice Campbell, who more than doubled the sponsorship target with a total of £1,070. Alice has worked in racing since 2003, and when breaking her leg four years ago was helped back to full riding fitness through support from Racing Welfare. This inspired her to sign up for the race, having already taken part in a 24hr cycling challenge for the charity last year. She partnered four-year-old gelding ‘Dennis’ who she looks after and has ridden every day since he was broken in, owned and bred by her employer, Nigel Twiston-Davies.