Published: 18/05/2016 16:39:16
AHT charity race riders come face to face for the first time as they count down the last few weeks to their big moment on the Newmarket July Course (25 June)
Budding jockeys are preparing to fly past the winning post of one of the most iconic racetracks in the UK to raise funds for the Newmarket based veterinary charity, the Animal Health Trust (AHT). Three Jockeys in contention are Elizabeth Evans, Hetta Stevens and Verity MacMahon. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these enthusiastic (and brave!) riders, battling it out over one mile of the Newmarket July Course, cheered on by the crowds in the AHT Gala Day grandstand. Watch them in action here!
All of the riders have not only committed to raising as much money as possible, but are also dedicating their time to getting fit and riding out as much as possible in preparation for the big day. To take part, all of the riders must pass the British Racing School (BRS) fitness test “This a tough set of physical challenges testing upper, lower and core strength” explains BRS Examiner Yariv Kam, “charity riders are held to the same high standards as competitive jockeys to ensure they are fit, safe and ready to race. So I’ll be putting them through their paces today!”
Yariv wasn’t joking – the girls take on a bleep test, followed by squats, push ups, planks and trying to keep their balance on inflatable discs. Only one word could sum up the morning’s activities: “Tough!” says Verity “I’m glad we have each other to encourage us to try even harder, our competitiveness is already showing. Each of us is better at different exercises – it’s highlighted our strengths and weaknesses and Yariv has given us some useful tips for being in top condition for the race. We’re looking forward to getting on the horses next, because we’re much more at home in the saddle than in the gym!”
Relieved the gym tests are over, the girls change into their jodhpurs and boots ready for the ridden assessment, led by Richard Perham. Richard currently has 18 students in training at the BRS and the girls are hoping to make the most of his expertise to get any tips they can, to give themselves the extra edge. On horses they have never ridden before, the AHT jockeys head out into the sunshine for a walk, trot and canter up the gallop, giving Richard the chance to see how they handle themselves on the turf. “These girls are all confident on a horse” he reports, “test day and riding on the gallops for the first time is a definite reality check for anyone hoping to race, and not everyone makes the grade, but all three of them look relaxed and in control. They have a few more weeks to go away and work on the elements we have looked at today, and I’m sure they are now even more motivated to do well – we wish them the best of luck!”
“Today has made the event much more real now” says Hetta, “meeting the other jockeys, being assessed and now making these last few weeks count, the challenge is starting to sink in. I’m not feeling the pressure just yet though, we’d obviously all love to win and I’m so excited for the day. I have lots of friends and family support to help and cheer me on on the day. I think it’s going to be a really close race…”
Elizabeth, Hetta and Verity are yet to meet their seven other rivals taking part in the charity race. It’s sure to be a thrilling start to the AHT’s special day, which is open to the public, as well as hosting its own hospitality area if you are hoping to make the most of a glorious summer Saturday. Together, the money the jockeys raise being sponsored will help the AHT improve the health and welfare of dogs, cats and horses in the UK and worldwide. Last year’s riders raised an amazing £23,423 and the AHT would like you to help them beat that figure by backing one of this year’s competitors!
“It is a fantastic cause for any animal or racing lover to be raising money for and it’s not too late for you to join the excitement or to help our sponsorship” says Elizabeth, “we’re each trying our best baking cakes, calling on friends and family and organising little competitions to help hit our fundraising target. You never know when you may need the help and expertise of the AHT and I have seen first-hand the great work that they do, so we would be very grateful for any support before or on the day!”
You can watch a video of the girls taking on the BRS test and find out why they have decided to race for the AHT HERE
To find out more about the Charity Race, attending on the day visit www.aht.org.uk/GalaRaceDay
Spending your money wisely
From every £1 you give
us we spend 93p
fighting disease and
injury in animals.
We use the remaining 7p
to raise the next £1.