Tina is among 12 riders who will be taking part in the St Patrick’s Derby at the Cheltenham Festival this year (Thursday 15 March) in aid of Cancer Research. The race will be run over 1m5f.
“It all started when I was having some banter with presenter Rishi Persad at the European Championships and we were laughing about having a go in a race.
“To ride at Cheltenham is such a fantastic opportunity I had to have a go,” Tina told H&H.
“I ride out for my brother (trainer Nick Gifford) all through the winter – so I’m quite fit anyway, but this will make maintain my fitness and also ensure I’m not too heavy!
“I’ll have to ride a bit shorter, but overall the training is no different to what I normally do.”
Tina has ridden in “a few” charity races before – including winning on at Plumpton.
“I don’t claim to be a jockey, I don’t have the build for it, but I’m looking forward to the race and it’s a unique training process in the run up to London this summer,” she added.
Nearly 100 people applied to ride in the race. Tina will also be up against Joanne McCain, daughter of Grand National legend Ginger.
“I am thrilled and excited to have been picked to ride,” said Joanne.
“After losing Dad to cancer last year I feel honoured to be raising money for Cancer Research UK.”
Other riders include Jelly O’Brien – wife of trainer Fergal, Welsh opera singer Sh ¢n Cothi, At The Races presenter Gina Bryce, Wendy Normile – assistant manager of Coolmore, Niall Hannity – former jockey turned broadcaster, Lindsey Hunting – nurse and girlfriend of Gold Cup winning jockey Paddy Brennan, Irish racing reporter Niall Cronin, former U21 team showjumper James Hughes, Candida Baker – wife of trainer George Baker and firefighter Stuart Parr.
“We have been delighted with the success of the charity race over the last two years, which has raised an amazing amount of money for charity,” said Cheltenham racecourse’s Edward Gillespie.
“The riders that take part have been seriously competitive and the race has proved a popular addition to what is already a spectacular day of high-class jump racing“.
To sponsor Tina visit: www.justgiving.com/tinacook
This news story was first published in the current issue if H&H (26 January 2012)