We won’t know the final runners for any of the races at the Cheltenham Festival for a long time, but the riders for one of them were confirmed this morning. The fifth running of the St Patrick’s Day Derby charity race has the usual eclectic mix of people from within the racing world and beyond.
Probably the most well known name in the line up is Channel 4 Racing presenter Rishi Persad. He set out to make a career as a jockey, but gave that up for the microphone many years ago. He joins Lucy Bridgwater, better half of trainer David, Wexford trainer Bernadette Murphy, and nine other folk, most of whom few of us will ever have heard of.
Many people put their names into the hat for the race next year. Sophie Brudenell, Communications Manager at Cheltenham explained how the final line up was reached. She said, “We wanted to ensure that we have a mix of people riding from both the racing industry and those who ride either as a hobby or in another equine sport. People of all ages are participating and both sides of the Irish Sea are well represented.”
The race raises money for Cancer Research UK, and the objective is to push the total raised in the five years of the partnership to over £1 million. Whilst it isn’t one of the official events, that doesn’t mean people don’t take it seriously, as Frances Milner, spokesperson for the charity explained. “In previous years we have been astounded by the race’s participants; from their personal motivations for wanting to race, the quality of their riding, and, of course, their fantastic fundraising efforts. The money raised at the Festival will help us bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. We wish all the participants the best of luck and look forward to welcoming them over the finishing line.”