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Royal support for racehorse welfare


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  • A member of the exiled Yugoslavian royal family has made a donation of £3,500 to the Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre (MRWC) in West Sussex.

    Crown Princess Katarina, daughter of Crown Prince Tomislav who was banned from returning to the former Yugoslavia when General Tito established a communist regime in 1945, is an enthusiastic horsewoman and has taken a keen interest in the centre since she moved to West Sussex.

    The centre was set up in 1999 to retrain thoroughbred racehorses, who have finished their racing careers, in preparation for them to take part in other suitable disciplines. MRWC has successfully retrained and re-homed more than 100 ex-racehorses, with 25 horses currently at the centre, and 19 on the waiting list.

    Based at Huntingrove Stud in West Sussex, the centre is named after Moorcroft Boy, who broke his neck in a horrific fall at Aintree in 1994. After intensive veterinary care, he made a full recovery and returned to racing in 1996.

    The pinnacle of his success was winning the Scottish Grand National in April 1996, after which he retired. Now aged 19, he is the centre’s mascot and spends his time spearheading the work of MRWC by making public appearances at racecourses around the country.

    The MRWC’s work is partly funded by a £50,000 grant from Retraining of Racehorses (ROR), as well as a charity race day at Plumpton in April. In addition, when a racehorse is retired to their care, the centre requires a minimum one-off donation from the current owner of £500. Nevertheless, since the annual running costs of the centre are well in excess of £220,000, it is dependent on private donations.

    Graham Oldfield, chief executive of the centre, explained that the money donated by Crown Princess Katarina would be put towards the centre’s veterinary bills.

    “We are exceptionally grateful for this exceedingly generous gesture. Katarina is a great supporter of ours in various different ways, and we are thrilled that she likes our work so much,” he told HHO.

    To make a donation call (tel: 01403 791916) or visit: www.mrwc.org.uk

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