Six lucky riders have been picked to race alongside Nick Skelton, Ben Hobday and Tina Cook at Cheltenham in aid of Hannah Francis’ Willberry Wonder Pony charity, and the Bob Champion Cancer Trust.
More than 600 members of the public applied to take part in the charity race, on 20 April next year, in which either William or Alice Fox-Pitt will also ride.
Selectors said deciding upon the final six was an “incredibly hard” task.
“We never cease to be amazed at the generosity and spirit of our supporters and we want to thank everyone who applied to ride in this race,” said Ian Peters, a trustee of Willberry Wonder Pony. “Bob and Hannah are both an inspiration to the equestrian community and our shared goal of #kickingcancersbutt unites the charities in a common purpose.
“Now we want everyone, riders and supporters alike, to come and support the brave riders and both charities on the day.”
Each of the six riders has pledged to raise at least £2,500, and organisers hope the day will make at least £100,000, which will be split between the two charities.
Bob Champion said: “Selection was so hard. Everyone who applied was worthy so it all came down to suitability and fundraising.
“We hope we have got a good mix of people and that everyone else still comes along on the day, to join us for lunch, or just to watch, and to be a part of this special occasion.”
The six riders are:
- Madeleine Bunbury, 21, an artist based between Dorset and Mustique, and a “loyal supporter” of Willberry Wonder Pony.
- Anne Dawson, 37, from Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, is a policewoman and “passionate equestrian”. She feels the race is a legacy to Hannah Francis’s “bravery and memory” and Bob Champion’s inspirational story.
- Abigail Dean, 27, from Gloucestershire, is an event rider who previously worked for the late Sir Henry Cecil, who himself fought cancer bravely.
- Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, 27, of Qatar, is chairman of Qatar Racing, a supporter of British racing who took part in the 2016 Mongol Derby.
- Scott Lowther, 43, from Waterbeck in Scotland, is the director of a construction company and a supporter of racing and eventing. He describes himself as “not rich or famous” but passionate about the causes this race will raise money for.
- Catherine Mills, 37, from Amersham, works for a members’ only lifestyle and management company and is an event rider in her spare time.
- Ben Moore, 39, is a soldier from Melton Mowbray. Before he joined the Army, he worked in racing and wants to do this race for his daughter who loves ponies but is currently fighting cancer.
- Jasean Spraggett, 24, from Leicestershire, is a showjumper and working hunter rider. Nicknamed ‘Quevega’ due to her love of Cheltenham, she has set herself an ambitious target of money she plans to raise for the Champions Willberry Charity Race.
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A lunch will also be held in aid of the two charities on the day.
For more information on fundraising or to buy tickets, click here.