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20 January,2018

From the home of National Hunt racing to the home of the Derby, applications invited for the second Pertemps Champions Willberry Charity Race in August 2018

Members of the equestrian public are invited to apply to ride in the Pertemps Champions Willberry Charity Derby, a flat race to be run over the Derby course and distance on August 27th (Bank Holiday Monday) 2018.   The race will again be run in aid of The Bob Champion Cancer Trust and Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity.

Cousins Lissa Green, one of Britain’s most exciting new eventing talents and daughter of two-time European Eventing Champion and Olympic Silver medallist Lucinda Green MBE, and Lara Prior-Palmer, winner of the 2013 Mongol Derby, are set to head the 12-strong line-up. Their entry is particularly poignant as Lara has herself been battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2017.  They will be joined by two other celebrity riders and eight lucky members of the public.  Entries are now open via www.championswillberry.org.uk and close on 21st February 2018.

The inaugural Pertemps Champions Derby Charity Race, held at Cheltenham, the home of National Hunt racing in April 2017, raised over £120,000 divided equally between the two benefiting charities.  The line-up included eventing legends, Sir Mark Todd, Tina Cook and Ben Hobday as well as TV presenter, Alice Fox-Pitt.  It was won by soldier Ben Moore, himself a cancer victim and particularly special to him and his family as his daughter is currently fighting the disease.

Bob Champion says:
“The Cheltenham race was such a success and we’re absolutely delighted to now be going to Epsom, home of the greatest flat race in the world.  With over 600 applicants applying to ride in last year’s race and with so much support for both charities, I’m sure we’ll have another amazing line-up.  I would quite like a Grand Prix dressage rider to take their place alongside our celebrity eventers this time – so come on and apply!”

It was Hannah Francis’s wish to have a charity race for her Willberry Wonder Pony Charity, expressed before she sadly died in August 2016.  Her inspirational legacy lives on in the race.

Ian Peters, Trustee of Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity says:
“We were delighted to participate with The Bob Champion Cancer Trust in the first running of the race at Cheltenham in 2017.  Doing so again, this time at Epsom, will be another tremendous opportunity to create a unique event and raise meaningful funds for both charities.  Hannah would have been astonished to see her charity featuring in such a high-profile race and we’re all thrilled to be taking part.”

Simon Durrant, General Manager at Epsom Downs Racecourse says:
“We are delighted to host the Pertemps Champions Willberry Charity Derby race at Epsom Downs Racecourse. Run over the Derby course and distance, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these riders to experience the unique contours and undulations of the world-famous Epsom Downs. The Investec Derby is the greatest flat race in the world, the richest horserace in Britain and impacts the global horseracing industry. It is highly competitive and attracts some of the best thoroughbreds and jockeys in Europe every June. We give jump jockeys, apprentice jockeys and amateur riders the chance to experience the race in their own Derby’s throughout the season and this race offers an exciting new aspect. We look forward to seeing the final line-up of riders, who will be raising money for these two worthy causes.”

Application details

Applications are invited from January 18th 2018 onwards with a closing date of midnight on Wednesday 21st February 2018.  The Application Form with guidelines is only available at www.championswillberry.org.uk
Key criteria will be that applicants are under 12 stone, over 18, competent riders, can pledge to raise over £5,000 and are able to source their own racehorse.

There will be an official lunch on the day with a range of fund-raising activities to support the benefitting charities.

Please visit the website for details of how to apply to ride, how to get involved, how to attend the day/lunch, sponsor a jockey and to donate.  Sponsorship packages are available on request.

About The Bob Champion Cancer Trust

After Bob Champion and Aldaniti won the 1981 Grand National, ‘racing’s greatest fairy-tale’ led to the foundation of The Bob Champion Cancer Trust in 1983. The Trust raises funds to support their cancer research programmes taking place within The Bob Champion Research and Education Building at the University of East Anglia and at the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton, where The Bob Champion Cancer Research Laboratory forms part of the first male dedicated cancer research facility in Europe. It is within these facilities that their prostate cancer research projects are taking place and with the incidence of this disease on the increase their work is vital. In the UK it has been estimated that one in every 12 men will develop the disease. www.bobchampion.org.uk

About Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity
Talented horse rider, Hannah Francis, was diagnosed with aggressive bone cancer in 2015. She was just 17 years old. In the year and half that followed Hannah, always aided by her mascot toy pony, Willberry Wonder Pony, amazed the equestrian community and people all over the world with her drive and determination. She continued to ride, even riding internationally under GB colours, and fulfilled many of her ‘bucket list’ wishes.  Even more remarkably, she turned her sights to what she could do to help people in her position in the future.  In constant pain and undergoing relentless rounds of treatment she and her dedicated family and friends set up Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity, registered in March 2016. The charity funds bone cancer research, especially into osteosarcoma, and grants equine related wishes to seriously ill people and their families.  www.willberrywonderpony.org


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