Your chance to ride at the world-famous Cheltenham Festival

Updated: October 2, 2013

Ever dreamt of riding around the unique contours of Cheltenham Racecourse, the Home of Jump Racing and one of the most famous racecourses?

Even better, how about experiencing the thrill of race riding at one of the biggest race meetings in the world, The Festival.

Applications are now being invited for the Charity Flat race, which takes place for the fifth time as the last contest on the third day of The Festival, St Patrick’s Thursday, March 13, 2014.

The race is one of the principal fundraisers for Cheltenham Racecourse’s chosen charity, Cancer Research UK. The 2014 running is expected to take the total amount raised for Cancer Research UK to over £1 million since the race’s inauguration.

With a maximum field of 12 runners, the race over a mile and five furlongs is open to any amateur rider who feels they can raise the required amount of at least £5,000 in sponsorship to take part. Participants are required to provide their own mount, which must have run at least twice under the recognised Rules of Racing.

Previous winners of the St Patrick’s Derby, as the race is known, have been racing TV presenter Lorna Fowler, Orna Madden, Brian Bunyan and Olympic silver medallist Tina Cook in 2012, just prior to her London glory.

Applications close on Wednesday, November 20, 2013.

To make an application, please contact Sarah Oliver on 01886 884488 or

Sophia Brudenell, Communications Manager for the South West Region of Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “The St Patrick’s Derby has quickly become one of the most popular charity races in the country, as the opportunity to ride around Cheltenham during The Festival is something incredibly special.

In the past, the race has appealed to people from all over the UK and Ireland. Of those, some have been riding regularly since childhood and others have used the race as a chance to improve their skillsIt really is open to everyone.”


Jacqueline Ashton, Head of Special Events and Supporter Partnerships, Cancer Research UK, commented: “Cancer Research UK is thrilled to be a part of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival. It is now the fifth year that Cheltenham Racecourse has been supporting us in raising vital funds in our effort to beat cancer sooner, and in 2014 the St Patrick’s Derby is set to take our partnership’s fundraising to over £1 million. 


“It is only with the support of Cheltenham Racecourse and our wonderful jockeys that we have been able to reach this exciting milestone.


“All of the money raised for Cancer Research UK over the duration of The Festival helps us bring forward the day when all cancers are cured and, with one in three of us still developing cancer at some point in our lives, every step towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated.”


The Festival takes place in 2014 from Tuesday, March 11 to Friday, March 14, inclusive.

The race conditions are as follows:


St Patrick’s Day Derby

The British Horseracing Authority have granted exemptions from the effects of Rule A38 for this race as it is run outside the Rules of Racing. Therefore, it will not count for any purposes on the horse’s career record.


For four-year-olds and upwards who have run at least twice under the recognised Rules of Racing.


Distance – One mile and five furlongs – to be started by flag.


Weight – 11st 10lb.


All horses to be rated:

0-125 for hurdlers/chasers

0-85 for Flat horses

Point-to-pointers can also run subject to individual clearance.


Please note: Any horse that does not fit the above criteria will be subject to a handicapping system at the discretion of Cheltenham Racecourse.


All horses to be vaccinated in accordance with Rule E18/19 of the Rules of Racing.


This is an invitation race but riders are responsible for finding their own horses. All riders must be passed fit to ride by the racecourse doctor on the day of the race and must agree to receive medical attention should it be deemed necessary. Riders must provide their own equipment including the mandatory back protector and skull cap as laid down under the Rules of Racing January 2002 Standards.


Each rider is requested to join the AJA and to raise at least a minimum of £5,000 in sponsorship.


Any rider offered a place and subsequently withdrawing their entry from this race at any time and for any reason will forfeit any sponsorship monies already lodged.


A maximum of 12 riders only.


Cancer Research UK is a registered charity No: 1089464


For further information, please contact:

Sophia Brudenell

Communications Manager – South West

Cheltenham, Exeter, Warwick, Wincanton

Office: 01242 537 683

Mobile: 07557 054 577



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