Former footballer Michael Owen will compete against ten other riders when he makes his debut in the saddle in The Prince’s Countryside Fund Charity Race supported by Tindle Newspapers on Friday 24th November 2017 at Ascot Racecourse. The race day raises money for the Fund, which in turn supports British Farmers and the countryside.
Michael Owen will compete aboard a Tom Dascombe trained horse and will be aiming for success in his first race, having only ridden a horse for the first time this year.
His rivals include: Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, who will return to the track seeking success after being caught late on for second place in the race last year. International Event Rider Harry Meade, is turning his hand to race riding and will be wanting to add to his impressive equestrian CV with success at Ascot.
Emma Evans, wife to trainer David Evans, will be looking to get back to winning ways having previously been an amateur rider and is returning to Ascot. Seasoned charity race rider Maurice McCarthy will be taking part in his 37th charity race and has previously ridden at Ascot three times. McCarthy has raised over £130,000 for numerous charities, although this is the first time he has ridden for The Prince’s Countryside Fund.
Michael Owen said: “It has been a big learning curve. Riding sometimes looks easy but having tried it myself I realise that it’s just the jockeys making it look straightforward! Experiencing first hand quite how difficult it is has definitely increased my respect for jockeys. I am in a fortunate position that I have two horses at the stables that I could ride in the race. One is on the safer side, but I plan to ride the more challenging horse as I think it gives me the best chance of winning, and this was never just about taking part. Having said that, on this occasion I realise just crossing the line will be an achievement!”
The Prince’s Countryside Fund was founded by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2010 to help secure a brighter future for British farmers and the countryside. Each year the fund provides up to £1.52 million in grants to projects across the UK as well as running its own initiatives such as The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme.
Since the first The Prince’s Countryside Fund Raceday at Ascot in 2015, over £720,000 has been raised as part of the partnership with Ascot Racecourse. This year, The Prince’s Countryside Fund Racing Weekend boasts a full card of exciting jump racing alongside a Christmas shopping fair in association with Country Living magazine. Proceeds raised through a special charity luncheon and during the day on the Friday will go to the charity.