NHS charity to benefit from donations from All-Weather Champions
The All-Weather season was robbed of the Good Friday highlight of Finals Day at Lingfield. However, the winning owners, trainers and jockeys have all decided to make contributions from their prizes to support a local NHS charity.
Jockey Ben Curtis (pictured), trainer Mick Appleby and owner Godolphin were announced as the champions of their respective categories for season seven of the All-Weather Championships. The AWC Champion Apprentice Jockey, Horse of The Year and Winning-Most Horse have also been declared. Each of the six accolades carries a cash prize (of up to £10,000) and the winners have all kindly decided to donate all or a proportion of this money to an NHS charity to help fight the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, totalling over £25,000.
SASH, the charity for East Surrey Hospital and all the services provided by Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, local to Lingfield Park will be benefiting from the prize-winners’ donations.
Andrew Bickerdike, Fundraising Manager at SASH, said: “We are hugely grateful to all the various All-Weather Champions, and to Arena Racing Company, for this incredible show of support for our local hospital staff at this busy time.
“It is very much appreciated by all of us here at SASH Charity and Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. As a local hospital charity, the support of the racing community, and organisations and individuals of national and international standing is something we are very grateful for. Thank you from all of us.”
Ben Curtis was the runaway winner of the AWC Champion Jockey award, which is supported by Great British Racing. The former Irish champion apprentice rattled up 101 wins, just one behind the record set by Luke Morris in 2015. Morris (67 wins) and Hollie Doyle (58) were the only other riders to reach the half century mark.
“I have had a brilliant campaign on the All-Weather over the winter. I rode winners for a lot of different contacts, particularly Mick Appleby and Tony Carroll who provided me with a lot of winners. Mick puts a lot of focus on the All-Weather and it was great to see him get his just rewards by being champion trainer,” said the champion jockey.
“I am giving a donation of £2,000. The NHS do so much for us on a daily basis. I have had a few falls and they have always looked after me impeccably. I think now more than ever people are appreciating what they do.”
Godolphin was crowned the AWC Champion Owner for the sixth consecutive year. The famous royal blue silks were carried to victory on 26 occasions.
Hugh Anderson, Godolphin Managing Director (UK and Dubai), said: “We are very pleased to be crowned All-Weather Champion Owner for a sixth time. Full credit must go to the whole team, who have all played a part in another successful season.
“In light of the current situation, it seemed entirely appropriate that we donate our prize to those who are working tirelessly to help the country.”
Champion Trainer Mick Appleby with 54 winners has also pledged £2,000 of his AWC Champion Trainer prize. “I think that is our best tally of winners for the All-Weather Championships, even though the season ended prematurely. I have a great team of staff and owners, and it is lovely to win the AWC Champion Trainer title again.
George Rooke is the AWC Champion Apprentice Jockey and rode 10 more winners than runner-up Grace McEntee after registering 24 wins during the campaign, which included an across-the-card four-timer at Southwell and Kempton Park on February 26. Both Rooke and McEntee have pledged to make a donation from their prize funds.
The AWC Horse of The Year is decided on prize money and this year’s award goes to the John Gosden-trained Dubai Warrior. The horses’s owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum will donate his Horse of The Year prize of £10,000.
The AWC Winning-Most Horse accolade went to Agent Of Fortune trained by Gary Moore and owned by the Foreign Legion syndicate. The owners were also swift to announce that they,too, would pledge £1,000 of their prize, as well as supporting the staff at Gary Moore’s yard