Michael Andrews to wear rainbow armband on racecourse debut in Newbury charity race
Michael Andrews has enjoyed a busy career in the few years since completing his degree at Leeds University and embarking on the BHA Development Programme in 2018. Whilst he didn’t have a horseracing background, he started working in racing aged 16, writing form for French races, and has subsequently worked for RaceTech, Racing.com, Sky Sports Racing, Goodwood, and is currently employed as Social Media Manager at The Jockey Club.
Michael faced his own struggles during 2019 and found horses to be an important factor in his recovery. He was diagnosed with anxiety and depression whilst working in London, a place where he obviously had little access to horses. Subsequently, he decided to leave London and moved to work at Goodwood where he began riding again at an ex-racing yard run by Lucinda Sims, who retrained Triumph Hurdle winner, Zarkandar. Michael has a painfully true motto – instead of jumping in front of a car, he jumped on a horse.
Inspired by Khadijah Mellah, he decided to try to achieve what felt like an impossible dream and took the plunge by signing up for The British Horse Society charity race, to be held at Newbury Racecourse, 4th November (11:30am). Weighing 13 stone 3lb on New Year’s Day 2020, he now weighs less than 11 stone – a goal he has achieved to compete in the race aboard the eight-year-old gelding Stormingin for trainer Gary Moore.
Michael is raising money for Changing Lives Through Horses, which aims to improve the lives of disengaged young people and give them the opportunity to develop skills that enable them to return to education and/or employment. They celebrate the powerful impact that horses can have on the development of life skills which can help young people. Alongside this fundraising, he has secured sponsorship from BetVictor and will proudly be wearing a rainbow armband in support of Racing With Pride on his race-riding debut!
Michael explains why this is so important for him:
“I had seen the brilliant work Racing With Pride have been doing in the sport, as well as the Racing Is Everyone’s Sport campaign, and so I reached out to them to see if I could wear a rainbow armband to demonstrate my support for a cause which is so important to me. I found Jack Duern a true inspiration when I was growing up, and passionately believe that visible role models matter. So, if by wearing an armband, I help another young kid out, this was a no-brainer.”
I hope that by demonstrating my visible support for Racing With Pride, and LGBT+ inclusion more broadly, I can encourage others to follow suit during the sport’s annual activation in conjunction with Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign in early December.”
David Letts, Chair of Racing With Pride, commented: “Michael’s decision to use this platform to raise awareness for LGBT+ inclusion is commendable; as he outlines, he has been helped by previous displays of visibility, and so, in turn, I hope others are encouraged and emboldened by his actions.
“Campaigns like Racing Is Everyone’s Sport have the ability to demonstrate our commitment to LGBT+ inclusion on a public stage, in conjunction with other sports across the country. Racing With Pride is pleased to once again be involved with this initiative alongside Great British Racing, as we aim to further awareness and understanding of this subject.”