Builder, plasterer and PA set to go head to head on racecourse in The Queen’s honour

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  • A plasterer, a builder and a PA are among those set to line up at Newbury this spring in a race to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF).

    The IJF has announced the 12 riders who will take part in the race, on Al Shaqab Lockinge Day, 14 May, to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The aim is for the riders to raise at least £60,000 between them for the charity.

    The riders are:

    Simon Elliott, a 40-year-old plasterer from Andover, a former conditional jockey who retired owing to injury, and as someone who has benefited from the IJF, he “wants to ride in the race to give something back to the charity that has helped him so much throughout his life”.

    Gloucestershire builder Ryan Newhook, 36, started riding 10 years ago and owns former racehorse Splash of Ginge, with whom who he is now team chasing. He rides out in his spare time for JonJo O’Neill.

    Somerset PA Hannah Roche has worked for Paul Nicholls for years and wants to support the IJF, which “has massively supported someone we all know at some point.”

    Benson Kattenhorn, 25, is a soldier from Essex who lives at Hyde Park Barracks. Having worked in racing for six years, he joined the Household Cavalry as a riding instructor. The race “gives him the opportunity to represent The Queen’s forces and pursue his dream to race-ride”.

    Sussex farrier Shane Francis, 32, was apprentice to Stevie Fisher, who has written a book Blinking ‘Ell about his life before and after locked-in syndrome.  Shane started riding four years ago and “working around racehorses on a daily basis, is keen to have a go himself and raise money for the IJF in the process”.

    American Alexandra Haggard, 42, is a head of investment now living in Wiltshire. She has evented all her life, started riding out for Alan King last year, and is keen to ride in a race. She was a founder of the Diversity Project Charity and is “keen to utilise her skills to the benefit of the IJF”.

    Full-time parent Nicola Baker, 33, is a former amateur rider, married to former jockey Gerge Baker, who had a career-ending fall in 2017. The race “offers Nicola the opportunity to support the charity that was so key to George’s recovery in the aftermath of his accident”.

    Charlie Richards, 21, is a work rider and groom at trainer Andrew Balding’s. He started riding aged 16, and is a “hugely popular member of the Balding team”, whose dream has always been to ride in a race.

    Also 21, Levi Capell from Luton attended the British Racing School (BRS) two years ago and has spent two years with the William Haggas team in Newmarket. Soon to join George Scott, Levi is supported by British Horseracing Authority  jockey coach Michael Hills, and would love to take out his licence.

    Jaydon Lee, 20, is a stable lad based in Lambourn. Having no background in racing, Jaydon became a BRS graduate and has been working for Nicky Henderson for three years. He is the regular rider for stable stars Shishkin and Constitution Hill. Jaydon was also a finalist in the newcomer category at the 2021 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards.

    Annie Mania, 31, is a work rider from Scotland for her stepfather, Sandy Thomson. Married to jockey Ryan Mania, she “knows only too well of the work the IJF does and is desperate to support by being involved in this race”.

    Isabel Spearman, 43, is a brand consultant from Wiltshire. She has a “very personal connection to the IJF” as the daughter in law of Lady Oaksey. She rides regularly and is “passionate about the IJF”.

    The reserves are insurance broker Richard Freeman and freelance broadcaster Brett Williams.

    IJF chief executive Lisa Hancock said: “We were completely overwhelmed with the number of excellent applications we had for the race and are delighted with our final line-up, which we hope covers all areas of the country and industry. All the riders have fantastic back stories and reasons for supporting us and we can’t wait to work with them all preparing for this special race to celebrate The Queen and everything she has done for our sport.”

    Newbury racecourse CEO Julian Thick added that the team is looking forward to hosting the race.

    “The line-up of riders looks very competitive, and we wish them the best of luck with their training,” he said. “In celebration of Her Majesty’s Jubilee, we too will be marking the occasion across the day.”

    The race will be the first on the card, run over 10 furlongs.

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