Just over 600 members of the public applied to ride in the Champions Willberry Charity Race at Cheltenham, the Home of Jump Racing in April. The race is in aid of The Bob Champion Cancer Trust and Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity. Each selected rider has pledged to raise a minimum of £2,500 and it is hoped the day will make at least £100,000 to be split evenly between the two charities.
Bob Champion said:
“Selection was so hard. Everyone who applied was worthy so it all came down to suitability and fundraising. We hope we have got a good mix of people and that everyone else still comes along on the day, to join us for lunch, or just to watch, and to be a part of this special occasion.”
Ian Peters, Trustee of Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity commented:
“We never cease to be amazed at the generosity and spirit of our supporters and we want to thank everyone who applied to ride in this race. Bob and Hannah are both an inspiration to the equestrian community and our shared goal of #kickingcancersbutt unites the charities in a common purpose. Now we want everyone, riders and supporters alike, to come and support the brave riders and both charities on the day.”
Ian Renton, from Cheltenham Racecourse, added:
“The number of applicants to ride in the race were more than any of us could have expected and we’d like to thank everyone for their interest in the event. Selecting the final riders was incredibly hard but I believe we have a great line up of people to take part and hopefully raise plenty of money for two such worthwhile charities.”
Joining Nick Skelton, Ben Hobday, Tina Cook and William or Alice Fox-Pitt will be.
Madeleine Bunbury, 21, is an artist based between Dorset and Mustique. She is a loyal supporter of Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony charity.
Anne Dawson, 37, from Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire, is a policewoman and passionate equestrian. She feels the race is a legacy to Hannah Francis’s “bravery and memory” and Bob Champion’s inspirational story.
Abigail Dean, 27, from Gloucestershire, is an event rider who previously worked for the late Sir Henry Cecil, who himself fought cancer so bravely.
Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, 27 of Qatar is Chairman of Qatar Racing, a passionate supporter of British Racing and an equestrian enthusiast who recently took part in the 2016 Mongol Derby.
Scott Lowther, 43, from Waterbeck in Scotland, is the Director of a Construction Company. Mad keen on both racing and eventing, he describes himself as “not rich or famous” but passionate about the two causes this race will raise money for.
Catherine Mills, 37, from Amersham, works for a member’s only lifestyle and management company and is a keen event rider in her spare time.
Ben Moore, 39, is a soldier from Melton Mowbray. Before he joined the Army, he worked in racing and wants to do this race for his daughter who loves ponies but is currently fighting cancer.
Jasean Spraggett, 24, from Leicestershire, is a show jumper and working hunter rider. Nicknamed ‘Quevega’ due to her love of all things Cheltenham, she has set herself an ambitious target of money she plans to raise for the Champions Willberry Charity Race.
At Warwick on Saturday Houblon Des Obeaux looks sure to make a bold bid in the Betfred Classic Handicap Chase run over 3m5f.
Yours In Sport!