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04 June 2024

A Lasting Legacy: Rob Burrow CBE

Following the sad news of the death of former rugby league legend Rob Burrow at the age of 41, we take a look at his involvement in The Good Racing Company and the legacy he has left behind, both in racing and much farther afield. 

The Good Racing Company was formed in October 2020 by entrepreneur and racing enthusiast Phil Hawthorne as an innovative way to fundraise for Rob Burrow after the former Leeds Rhinos star announced he was living with motor neurone disease (MND). To date it has raised over £200,000 through selling memberships to the charity-focused racing clubs. 

Former Champion Jockey Paul Hanagan, now Racing Director at The Good Racing Company, first met Rob at a charity event in 2010 and was impressed with his love and knowledge of horses. Although they didn’t see each other for a few years, Paul continued to follow the rugby player’s successful career and it was only when Phil asked him to become an ambassador for The Good Racing Company that Paul became aware of Rob’s MND diagnosis and his desire to create a racing club to raise funds, and awareness, for MND charities and the community. 

Paul explained: “It was very special that the sports came together after the fantastic idea from Phil. I am very proud to have become Racing Director for TGRC after I retired from race riding. Through lots of hard work the racing community got together with buying memberships for our selected horses, with the likes of Burrow Seven, Beep Beep Burrow and Macarone also holding many events which raised funds and awareness.” 

It is Macarone that offers Paul one of his favourite memories of Rob and highlights the support of racing community. Macarone was one of Paul’s last winners in his career, but his win at Beverley was Rob’s first. He and his family had been able to get to the course to watch the race and Paul recalls having never seen a reception like it from the crowd as he crossed the line and headed back into the winner’s enclosure, where Rob’s children collected the trophy. 

“I have met some special people in my life, but Rob would be right at the very top. His bravery dealing with MND is something I have never seen before. The word ‘legend’ is used too often, but it was made for Rob.” 

Rob and Lindsey Burrow announced in January this year that they were becoming patrons of The Good Racing Company

At an event for Good Racing Company members at Craig Lidster’s racing yard in Easingwold, Rob and Lindsey were presented with two giant cheques each for the value of £7,777 in tribute to the number seven shirt Rob wore for Leeds Rhinos. 

Since his diagnosis in 2019, Rob and his friend, and former teammate, Kevin Sinfield, have raised over £15m for charity. 

All of us at Racing Together would like to pass on our deepest condolences to the Burrow family, especially Rob’s wife Lindsey and their three children. He made a huge impact across horseracing and so many other walks of life. 

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