Greatwood Cheltenham Hurdle 2011

Our biggest day ever – The Greatwood Hurdle and the Charity Sweepstake

I still can’t believe that we have been involved in this race since 2003 (that was the year when Rigmarole won) and each year it goes on from strength to strength. We are so lucky to be involved with such a prestigious race and never take this honour for granted. The icing on the cake has to be being allowed to have the charity race tacked on the end of the day.

The Charity Race raised over £30,000, Becky Furber provided Champion Jump trainer Paul Nicholls with his seventh win at this weekend Open fixture at Cheltenham Racecourse in a nail biting battle up the Cheltenham hill to clinch victory in the Greatwood Charity Race, on board the Terry Warner owned Rock of Deauville.

Becky said, 'that it was such a thrill to ride around Cheltenham, let alone win!' Becky who works for Nicholls, came with a late flourish to win by a nose from Diana Hobbs, daughter of trainer Philip on board Piroulet, with Clare Luck riding Circus of Dreams trained by Oliver Sherwood in third. Thank you to all the trainers and owners for allowing their horses to take part.

Paul Nicholls and his Ditcheat team enjoyed another fruitful weekend, with Brampour winning the feature race on Sunday, the £100,000 Greatwood Hurdle, under a young amateur Jockey Harry Derham. Harry, who is Nicholls’s nephew, and just seventeen years old, notched his biggest career win to date in the competitive handicap hurdle. It is great that Harry rode in the Greatwood charity race last year, but I bet he didn’t think at the time that a year on, he would grab the Greatwood trophy.

Students who have attended the Greatwood Horse Power programme at Millfield, joined forces with Greatwood students to produce the best turned out on two of our three Amigo’s – Aaron and Poncho (Toyboy was supposed to be present too but we had a blip with a vaccination records). Luckily, both ponies quite enjoyed their day at the races despite the fact that the team was only two thirds strong. They looked absolutely brilliant and amused everyone as they trotted out of the parade ring to go back to the lorry – every bit as proud as the biggest racehorse. Marlborough Horse Transport again turned up with one of their largest lorries (I am pretty sure that they only do that so that when it comes to unloading they can watch people’s mouths drop open when they spot two 28’ inch ponies). Amy Howell was the star of stage and screen and overcame her shyness to be able to speak really well when interviewed by Alice Plunkett of Channel 4 Racing. Mick Fitzgerald judged the Best Turned Out but I think decided that both groups deserved a prize so everyone received big bags of crisps from Burt’s Crisps. Burt’s Crisps sponsored a ‘ how many jockeys can you get into a mini competition’ the answer is a rather uncomfortable 18 – this raised £1800 for us, thank you Burts Crisps and of course, thanks to all the jockeys.

Huge thanks to everyone for making it such a successful and fruitful day but of course, none of it would have been possible without the extraordinary generosity of our Patrons Nigel and Penny Bunter. Their kindness is quite breathtaking.

Many many thanks to Robert Waley-Cohen, Peter McNeile, Simon Claisse, and Edward Gillespie of Cheltenham Racecourse for their support on the day and kindly allowing the charity race to take place. Sarah Oliver from AJA has been simply amazing in organizing the charity race (Sarah is a whirlwind of efficiency). Thank you to all the intrepid 12 jockeys, all of whom raised in excess of £2,500 each, Becky, Harriet, Carey, Diana, Gemma, Clare, Maurice, Patrick and Tracey.

Harriet Rochester very generously gave up a lot of time so that we could maximize our PR for the day and it is largely thanks to her that we achieved such a lot of media coverage.

Thank you to all our students and parents for coming along for the day and Dangerfields from Swindon for providing the minibus, and also to Danny Anholt and Val Young for joining in with their students (but it was a bit of a shame that the Millfield ponies didn’t arrive – the lorry broke down in Bristol).

Thanks to all our team here for pushing the boat out, Melanie was stalwart in running our stand all day despite feeling under the weather, and thanks to our volunteers on the day, Gina, Gary, Ben and Robbie.


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Cheltenham Hurdle 2011

Cheltenham Hurdle 2011
Untitled Document

Rainscombe Hill Farm
Clench Common
Marlborough, Wiltshire
Tel: 01672 514535
Registered Charity No: 1117322

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