| 8.8°C Dublin

Celebrity Diary: I'm living and breathing racing so the only male in my life is my horse

THERE'S less than a week until my big Cheltenham debut and right now I'm nursing a swollen top lip after being hit with a flying piece of debris on Wednesday.

I was in the middle of a photocall to publicise the race so there were loads of photographers there when it happened.

I was on my horse, Silent Jo, and picking up the pace when this flying object hit my lip at an almighty pace. Thankfully I was wearing goggles as there can be a lot of kickback, so it missed my eye.

I'm not too upset about it. If that's the worst that happens before next week comes I'll be doing well. I'll just have to keep plenty of ice on it.

I had another scare earlier in the week when I was practising a flag start.

My horse actually thought we were running at Cheltenham and took off for the hedge in front of me at top speed. He went straight into an iron gate at the side.

Luckily, it was only a minor thing and I wasn't hurt but it was a bit of a wake-up call for me to be more conscious.

These are animals and they can do anything -- so you have to be very aware of that.

I'm off until the weekend after my Cheltenham race so I've been living and breathing horse-racing for the past few days.

I finished up work in the middle of the night last Sunday and my alarm was going off at 5.30am to get out and start training.

When I'm not on a horse, I've been busy running and training at some of the local parks such as Richmond and Windsor Park near my house in London.

My race is actually the last one on St Patrick's Day, which falls next Thursday. I think half of Ireland is coming over for it at this stage!

My family are flying in and lots of friends and relatives, so it'll be nice to have all that support behind me.

I'm not actually going to Cheltenham myself until Wednesday evening as I'll be busy getting in some last-minute training before that.

The plan is that legendary ex-jockey Mick Fitzgerald is going to walk the course with me that night while everyone else is at the bar celebrating.

A good friend of mine is coming over from Ireland that night so we'll probably go for dinner afterwards and then have an early night because it's going to be a hectic day on Thursday.

My boss from Sky Sports is coming down for the day and a few of the others from the station. They have a corporate box so they'll all be there to cheer me on. I couldn't have asked for a better team behind me.

Activity

There seems to be a perception that Sky Sports is a very male-dominated place, but in actual fact there's probably as many women working in Sky Sports News as there are men.

I knew I had a lot to learn when I went in there and they've just encouraged me along. We all get on great, it's a busy place and there's always plenty of activity.

No matter what the outcome of the race we'll still have an excuse to have a few drinks with it being St Patrick's Day.

I can't wait to catch up with my family as I've only been home about six or seven days in total in the past few months and when I was home at Christmas I ended up going to Galway for a few days.

Between work and riding every day I've had very little time to think about my love life since moving over to London last year.

To be honest, the only gentleman I've been spending time with lately is my horse, Silent Jo.

JP McManus is very kindly lending him to me and it was only this week that I found out which horse it was.

I haven't actually had a chance to meet JP yet but I'm hoping that I'll get a chance to thank him over there.

I must say I'm delighted with his choice.

Silent Jo is nine years old and really well bred, from America.

He's a lovely horse, really quiet. Our race is a flat race, which will probably suit him much better.

Apparently, he'll enjoy that it's a girl riding him.

In terms of my odds for winning, I would just love to do as well as possible. I'm a competitive person by nature but I think the most important thing is that I'm sensible and, of course, that the horse goes well on the day.

One of the favourites, Gordon Elliot, actually pulled out last week as he was having issues with his weight, so that has stirred things up a bit.

As far as I'm concerned, it could be anyone's victory though. We're all amateurs at the end of day, so it's an achievement just to be in the race.

I've been lucky that I've been getting so much advice from the best guys in the bus

iness.

To have help from AP McCoy and Jonjo O'Neill was a huge boost of confidence.

I have a lot of people to thank, including everyone who has made generous donations since I started, which will all go to Cancer Research.

So far we've raised over £9,000 and I'm hoping we will hit the £10,000 mark by the time the race rolls around.

I definitely hope to keep racing after Cheltenham, I think it's in my blood for life now.

Those who wish to support Rachel by donating funds to Cancer Research UK can do so at www.justgiving.com/ rachel-wyse