LONGINES Irish Champions Weekend is one of my favourite weekends on the racing calendar but this year’s renewal had an extra special meaning for me and my family.
We chose this weekend as an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer and raise essential funds for Cancer Trials Ireland and we hoped that people would get behind it and help us achieve our aims. What has happened since has been nothing short of incredible and we are so overwhelmed and grateful to everyone for their support, monetary or otherwise.
We have so many people thank, if I start listing them individually I will have to write a novel, so please know the difference you have made to cancer trials is game-changing and your support means more than words can say.
Thanks to all the team in Horse Racing Ireland, the Longines Irish Champions Weekend Committee, the Irish EBF and to all the owners who ‘nailed their colours to the mast’ for Cancer Trials Ireland.
I was blown away by the generosity shown by those of you who contributed and purchased all the incredible auction items. It was brilliant fun watching all the bidding which raised a phenomenal amount of money.
The specially-designed reusable cups really caught the imagination of racegoers and were a novel but important way to support the cause. Every €10 added up to a significant amount of money.
Thanks to all at Leopardstown and the Curragh for their help and encouragement over the weekend, and to the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board for assisting us in staging the Champions Race for Cancer Trials Ireland on a busy day for their teams. Thanks too to the print, broadcast and online media for their generous promotion the weekend.
I was really humbled by the stable staff donating their ‘best turned out’ prizes and the jockeys donating their riding fees, the stall handlers and racecourse staff who worked so hard over the weekend.
To my nine wonderful weighroom colleagues who came out of retirement to ride in the Champions Race, you are champions in every sense of the word and you gave us a very special race that we will never forget. I just can’t believe a jump jockey won on my home patch!
I am aware the preparation for the race involved a huge effort and that made their gesture all the more incredible.
Thanks to the trainers and owners who showed remarkable generosity in providing runners for the race and to the sponsors of the race: Adare Manor and J.P. McManus; Ballymore Properties and Sean Mulryan; BarOne Racing and Barney O’Hare; Betfair Exchange; BetVictor; the bookmakers in the ring under the INPBA umbrella; Ladbrokes; Paddy Power; and SkyBet, all sponsored the jockeys, while the support of the The Underwriting Exchange as insurance sponsors, The Patron Group and Fox Valeting Services for the jockeys’ breeches; and Racing TV as broadcast sponsors, is greatly appreciated.
To all the volunteers who worked tirelessly and the racegoers who came racing to make the weekend so special and created such an amazing atmosphere – it means so much to us.
Longines Irish Champions Weekend was all about raising awareness and funding two cancer trials. I can assure you that plans are already in place to action the two trials which we hope will make a big difference to people’s lives.
We are just so humbled and grateful how everyone supported the weekend and please be assured that your donations and efforts are going to a deserving cause.
We hope you enjoyed the weekend as much as we did. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.