FIVE jockeys who will be riding in today’s charity race at Punchestown visited renal patients undergoing dialysis treatment at Tallaght University Hospital this week.

The race is a fundraiser for the Punchestown Kidney Research Fund which in turn pays for the arts and health programme at TUH, for patients undergoing kidney dialysis.

Among the visitors this week was Katie McManmon, who works as a coach in the Racing Academy in Kildare. Katie said: “In my first proper job, the head man at the stables had a problem with his kidneys. It gave me an important insight into the very real hardship caused by the disease.”

Kidney donation

The PKRF charity was founded by James Nolan, who himself received a live-saving kidney donation from his sister in 1987. The Punchestown race is now in its 32nd year and to date has raised over €1.7 million.

This year 71 amateur jockeys applied for just 25 places. All riders were mentioned in last week’s edition but news came through earlier in the week that reserve rider Hannah Smullen, daughter of Pat and Frances, has gained a place in the race.