Betfair’s ‘Rachael Blackmore Serial Winners Fund’ is closing in on its target as it aims to provide £250,000 for two worthy charities.
The initiative was kick-started by a £100,000 donation from Betfair, with £5,000 added for every Blackmore winner ridden between Betfair Chase Day in November last year and the Grand National at Aintree in April.
The target sum is £250,000 and with several weeks still to go there is already £155,000 in the pot before the upcoming festivals at Leopardstown, Cheltenham and Aintree.
The funds raised will benefit the Injured Jockeys Fund and the Irish Injured Jockeys, both charities that support current and former riders on either side of the Irish Sea.
Blackmore, an ambassador for Betfair, said: ‘It’s fantastic to see all the amazing work the Injured Jockeys Fund does to support jockeys at facilities like Oaksey House (in Lambourn).
“This is a very generous initiative from Betfair, one that will benefit the Irish Injured Jockeys too, and will go a long way to creating more support facilities, in both UK and Ireland.“
To illustrate the need for the backing of such valuable work, Betfair sent tipster Daryl Carter to Oaksey House in Lambourn for a special edition of their ‘Coaching Carter’ series, where he met the recipients of the charity’s ongoing support to the industry.
Among them was former jockey Wayne Burton, who suffered serious head and spinal injuries in 2008 and lives at Oaksey House after being left paralysed from the chest down.
Burton is training to complete the London Marathon in his wheelchair in April, and said of the role the IJF has played in his recovery: “I did lose my speech, my understanding of what things were and where I was – that was a really hard battle for me at the time.
“Without the IJF I wouldn’t be here today, this place was built a year after my accident so as soon as this was open I was one of the first jockeys to come here.”
Carter also spoke with George Baker, another former jockey who won the St Leger aboard Harbour Law in 2016 before suffering severe injuries in a fall on the ‘White Turf’ at St Moritz.
Baker had a bleed on the brain and spent a significant amount of time in hospital before being rehabilitated at Oaksey House, where he now works alongside being a trustee for the charity.
“I am a trustee for the Injured Jockeys Fund and I work here three or four days a week in my role as a jockey coach,” he said.
“The Injured Jockeys Fund were a massive help to me, I had a bad accident in 2017 in Switzerland, at St Moritz on the White Turf.
“I was hospital in London for three or four months, I think it was a harder journey for my family more than anything and the next phase of my rehab was coming here.
“They helped rebuild me, really. I had to learn to walk again. They were instrumental in getting me back to work, they asked me to be a trustee and I’m very, very happy to facilitate that because the Injured Jockeys Fund is so close to my heart.”
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