Setanta Sports breakfast news presenter Ali Douglas will be calling on her race-riding skills this weekend, when she makes her racecourse debut in a charity race.
Ali will be taking part in the Ed Weetman Memorial charity Flat race at Uttoxeter on Sunday (10 May). The 1m2f race will be run after the main card at the Staffordshire course at 5.15pm, in aid of Cancer Research UK.
“I’ve always ridden,” said Ali. “As a child I used to be very involved with the Pony Club, but I haven’t ridden regularly in the past 10 years.
“It started initially with me doing a report from a racing stables and turned into me riding in a charity race! I thought it would be fun to do though.”
Ali has been working with Lambourn trainer Oliver Sherwood, who she was introduced to by Racing UK presenter Nick Luck.
Former champion amateur jockey-turned successful trainer, Oliver has sent out winners in many top races including the Tingle Creek, Scottish Champion Hurdle, the Arkle and the Hennessy.
She has been riding out once a week for Oliver for the past six months but has been on the gallops every day this week.
Ali will be partnering Global Strategy, owned and trained by Oliver.
“I had never ridden a racehorse before — it’s very very different. I hadn’t realised how different it would be, but I’m loving it,” Ali added.
“We filmed me riding out six months ago and again this week — and Oliver said I’d improved beyond recognition, which is great.
“I’m feeling comfortable with my horse but I’m pretty nervous. I don’t know what my chances are — I’m up against some stiff competition.”
Ali will be riding against some seasoned jockeys — including Ginger McCain’s daughter Jo, point-to-point rider Helen Kinsella and racehorse trainer and former champion professional lady rider Gay Kelleway.