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04 August 2022

‘Horsey Hugs’ delivered to St Leonard’s Hospice by York Racecourse Equine Ambassador ahead of The Sky Bet Ebor Festival

Ahead of the Sky Bet Ebor Festival at York Racecourse in two weeks’ time, former dual Group 1 winner and York Racecourse Equine Ambassador, Remy, paid a visit to St Leonard’s Hospice. Situated within a mile of the track, St Leonards, is a York based charity providing care and support to people who are terminally ill and those living with life limiting illnesses.

Patients from the hospice and their families, along with volunteers, nurses and doctors received a ‘horsey hug’ from Goldream, who is now known as Remy, having joined the racehorse rehoming and retraining charity New Beginnings after retiring from racing.  Remy, who during his career won nearly £600,000 including two Group 1’s, brought along his friend Poppy the Pony.

The clinical team at St Leonard’s ensured patients were able to experience the benefit of being close to a horse by moving their wheelchair or bed to the hospice entrance.  Two of the patients Josephine, joined by her husband and daughter Holly, as well as Diane, were gently nuzzled by the equine pair, and who were visibly uplifted by meeting them.

During his racing career Remy was trained by Robert Cowell in Newmarket and won the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and Prix de L’Abbaye at Longchamp.  He also made several successful trips to York Racecourse and ran twice in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at the Ebor Festival.   Through a partnership between New Beginnings and York Racecourse, earlier this year he was enrolled as the racecourse ambassador, and as well as racegoers being able to meet him at the majority of the York fixtures, he also visits groups and communities who might benefit from meeting a racehorse.

Frances Pantin, Occupational Therapist at St Leonards Hospice commented: “We were absolutely thrilled to have a special visit from Remy and Poppy. It certainly brightened up our day and created some very special memories for Diane, Josephine and her family. Thank you to York Racecourse and New Beginnings for taking the time to organise the visit and creating a very memorable day for us all.”

William Derby, Chief Executive of York Racecourse added: “I know from personal experience the positive effect that can be gained from people spending time with horses and it was a privilege to see the impact of Remy on everyone from the St Leonard’s community.

“With our flagship Ebor Festival just two weeks away we wanted to support the work of our local hospice by providing some comfort to patients and their families who are currently going through an exceedingly difficult time.  Remy and Poppy both brought a much-needed ray of sunshine to the patients and team at St Leonard’s and we are grateful to them and the New Beginnings team and everyone at the hospice who helped make this important visit happen”.  

Founders of New Beginnings, Kevin and Pam Atkinson said: “If we made one person smile that would have been enough, but Remy and Poppy bought lots smiles to lots of faces today.  After being an outstanding athlete on the racecourse, it’s a very touching experience to now see Remy being so quiet, gentle, and caring with people, particularly with those who are in pain physically or mentally.   The positive impact he had on both Josephine and Diane was clear and it has been a very special and memorable morning.

“I think Remy and Poppy nearly ate their bodyweight in carrots during their visit – but they both absolutely deserve it!”.

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