‘The thrill of a lifetime’: line-up for Champions Willberry Charity Derby revealed

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  • The 12 riders who will race in the Pertemps Champions Willberry Charity Derby at Epsom, have been revealed.

    The race, which will take place over the same course and distance as the Epsom Derby on Monday 27 August 2018 (Bank Holiday Monday), saw 150 people apply from all corners of the UK.

    Ten riders join the two cousins that have already been announced, Lissa Green, rising eventing talent and daughter of eventing legend Lucinda Green MBE, and Lara Prior-Palmer, winner of the 2013 Mongol Derby. Lara’s entry is particularly poignant as she battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2017.

    The other riders taking part are (in alphabetical order):

    Joseph Akehurt, 29, is based near Ipswich. He is currently a groom working with horses being transported around the world by plane, has worked and ridden for many trainers and has been involved with the Shetland Pony Grand National

    Deborah Auld, 26, owns an equine feed store in East Lothian. Having ridden all her life, she pre-trains her own racehorses

    Lucia Borradaile, 60, from Dorset, is now retired and spends a lot of time cycling. She is a former point-to-point rider who rode in the Cheltenham Foxhunters in 1995

    Alex Embiricos, 50, has been connected to the Bob Champion story all of her life, her father owning Aldaniti, the horse who carried Bob to Grand National glory in 1981. Based in Sussex, she works as a freelance expedition leader

    Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, 28, of Qatar is chairman of Qatar Racing, a passionate supporter of British racing and an equestrian enthusiast who took part in the 2016 Mongol Derby

    Tim Gredley, 32, has represented Great Britain at showjumping. Based in Newmarket, he now rides in point-to-points as well as running his own company

    Abigail Groves, 49, is a cancer and end of life care manager, based near Epsom in Surrey. A keen horsewoman, she competes in showjumping and will be celebrating her 50th birthday this year

    Heather Larson, 25, from Somerset is a showjumper and director of a sports horse company. She and Hannah Francis were friends who started out in the Wyle Valley Pony Club together

    Alex Monro, 45, works in Devon for Mole Energy Switching, a division of Mole Valley Farmers. A British young rider in the 1990s, he has competed at eventing and showjumping internationally and point-to-pointed

    Gemma Redrup, 27, from Rutland is a journalist at Horse & Hound magazine. She is a keen horsewoman who has competed across many disciplines

    Reserves (in alphabetical order):

    • John Nielson, 51, a company director from Co Durham
    • John Reddington, 45, a company director from Hertfordshire
    • Laura Rolph, 32, a BSJA Training Co-ordinator from Oxfordshire
    • Camilla Swift, 29, a journalist and editor from Surrey

    The race will be run in aid of The Bob Champion Cancer Trust and Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity, the inaugural race in April 2017 having raised over £120,00 for the two charities.

    On behalf of the two charities, Epsom Racecourse and the event committee, Bob Champion said: “It was brilliant to have so many suitable and enthusiastic people entering the race. We are all thrilled with our line-up of 12 from all different parts of the country and all experienced riders, which is so necessary for the challenges of the Epsom Derby track. They are being offered a thrill of a lifetime and in return, we hope to raise as much as we can for the two charities, both in the riders’ fundraising and on the day via our lunch and activities.”

    Simon Durrant from Epsom Downs Racecourse said: “We are delighted to be hosting this Charity Derby for two such worthy causes on our family fun day and the local trainers open day — something for everyone.”

    Continued below…

    Each selected rider has pledged to raise a minimum of £5,000 and it is hoped the day will make at least £100,000 to be split evenly between the two charities.

    For all details of how to get involved in sponsorship of the race and the jockeys riding, how to attend the race and lunch on the day and how to donate, visit: www.championswillberry.org.uk

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday

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