Cheltenham race will honour Lorna Brooke

Cheltenham will honour Lorna Brooke at Friday’s hunter chase meeting, with the penultimate race on the card to be run as the Lorna Brooke Open Hunters’ Chase.

Brooke died on April 19 as a result of injuries sustained in a fall at Taunton earlier in the month.

Philip Rowley will saddle Optimised in the Lorna Brooke Open Hunters’ Chase. The nine-year-old was runner-up to Southfield Theatre when the race was last run in 2019.

Rowley said: “Lorna was a dear friend and rode for me on many occasions.

“I will always be thankful to her for providing me with my first winner under Rules, which was The General Lee in the Chase Meredith Memorial Trophy at Ludlow (in March 2011).

“Lorna rode The General Lee again at Cheltenham at this fixture, and they were unlucky not to win as our horse led over the last before trying to go out for another circuit. Lorna managed to get the horse going again, and in the end we only went down by three-quarters of a length.

“It is just all so, so sad. I would like to thank Cheltenham Racecourse for naming tomorrow’s race in Lorna’s honour – it’s a very touching tribute.”

Ian Renton, regional managing director of The Jockey Club, added: “Tomorrow’s Race Night is the one fixture of the year at Cheltenham purely for amateur riders, and it only seemed right to honour Lorna in this way.

“It is sure to be a very emotional occasion as Lorna was such a popular figure, and everyone at the racecourse will be united in her memory.”

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