Saturday 16 December 2017

I'm ready to be back in the saddle again -- and Cheltenham's calling

Winning the Diageo Punchestown Kidney Research Charity Race back in April was undoubtedly a highlight of mine, and one that nobody can ever take away from me.

Being able to ride a winner at my local track and one of the best in the country just a couple of years after sitting on a racehorse for the very first time was something that indebted me to a lot of people -- and the success was a feeling I felt would forever go unrivalled.

Now, though, the opportunity to ride around Cheltenham has come about and on November 14th I will be donning the racing gear yet again to ride around jump racing's amphitheatre.


When reporting for the Evening Herald for the first time at the Cheltenham Festival in 2008, I recall walking the track and thinking to myself, "imagine riding around here".

Thanks to the Greatwood Charity Race on the final day of next month's Paddy Power meeting, one of life's biggest dreams will now become a reality.

There is no doubt that winning at Punchestown onboard Prospectorous and seeing the money raised for the Punchestown Kidney Research Fund, was a special occasion and one that will live forever in the memory, but even riding in a race around the most famous venue in racing, regardless of the finishing position, is going to be another day to savour, although there might not be much to savour about that famous, gruelling uphill finish!

As of yet, I cannot confirm the name of the horse I will be riding, simply because I don't know myself.

But as the date rapidly closes in on me, I hope to have that confirmed within the next week or so. Unfortunately, my old pal Prospectorous will be unavailable.

I am delighted for Philip and the Pride And Soul Syndicate have gone on to bigger and better things, winning twice and being placed four times since.


I must thank those who have dug deep to give me some sponsorship. Every penny counts so anything anyone at all can offer will be gratefully accepted.

Evening Herald readers who wish to donate to the Greatwood Charity can do so by going to www.racehorsesgreatwood.org and clicking the 'Donate Now' button on the top right hand corner. Or, of course, regular racegoers can just hunt me down at the races and I will have a sponsorship card on hand.

All support is much appreciated.

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