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Moorcroft charity race day raises a record amount

Owners of Trucker's benefit with the Josh Gifford Memorial Trophy presented by Mrs Althea Gifford ( centre) with son Nick Gifford, jockey Richard Johnson, and her daughter Kristina Cook.  Photo Jeannie Knight

Owners of Trucker's benefit with the Josh Gifford Memorial Trophy presented by Mrs Althea Gifford ( centre) with son Nick Gifford, jockey Richard Johnson, and her daughter Kristina Cook. Photo Jeannie Knight

A MOVING testimony to the vital work done by Moorscroft Racehorse Welfare Centre, Slindon, was made at the centre’s annual raceday at Plumpton Racecourse last week.

The day raised a record-breaking total of more than £50,000 towards the running costs at Moorcroft.

Graham Willett, owner of former hurdler Ravenscroft, who won at Fontwell and was second at Plumpton, said at a fundraising lunch on the day: “Moorcroft came into our lives and that of our eight-year-old gelding this year. Ravenscroft had bled badly in a race at Newbury on New Year’s Eve and we did not have the personal means to secure a future for him. We and he are very fortunate that he has been offered a place at Moorcroft.”

He described Moorcroft as ‘a centre of excellence’ and spoke highly of the quality of training given to former racehorses and also to riders in a series of demonstrations there.

“Ravenscroft now looks fantastic. He is proving to be a valuable lecture aid and horse whisperer’s apprentice! He is now thriving and will no doubt be found a suitable job and home.

“Manager Mary Henley-Smith and chairman of trustees, Tim Fox, are the backbone at this special place. What they have done for us and our horse, we can never repay, but we will support Moorcroft for ever.”

Mr Willett also questioned why funding should be so precarious for for this outstanding centre, adding: “ A day like today should be the icing on the cake and not a prerequisite for Moorcroft. It deserves better.”

Tim Fox said that the annual raceday contributed 20 per cent of the running costs of the centre year on year, making a vital contribution to Moorcroft. An auction at a lunch before racing traditionally raises in the region of £20,000, but this year’s auction achieved a record £24,850, with people digging deep to support this invaluable charity. The entire day raised a record-breaking sum in excess of £50,000.

The day kicked off with the Shetland Gold Cup, which gave 12 young riders the chance to race on the track in a race sponsored by the Andy Stewart Foundation. The race was won by young Bradley Kent on board Goring Hotel. The race programme included the first running of the Josh Gifford Memorial Trophy, sponsored by Mr and Mrs Mark Tracey. Josh was a familar face to racegoers at Plumpton and always attended Moorcroft Raceday. As a jockey he was leading riding rider at the track with 68 winners until Tony McCoy came along. His final winner there as a jockey was on the great Pendil.

It was appropriate that his first winner of many as a trainer was also at Plumpton. His widow, Althea, and son and daughter, Nick and Kristina were present at lunch and also there to present the trophy to connections of the horse that won the Memorial race-Truckers Benefit.

Two of Josh’s former jockeys, Richard Rowe and Gerry Enright, both saddled up runners for the race, with Pocket Aces and Drombeg Pride, respectively, but failed to make the frame in the two-and-a-half mile chase.

Truckers Benefit, trained by in form Tim Vaughan of Aberthin, was ridden by Richard Johnson to a decisive win. The Irish-bred seven-year-old had run well on his chase debut a month previously and put in a fine performance.

For full details of Moorcroft’s vital work and how you can support this charity see: www.mrwc.org.uk

 

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