Tuesday, 7 December 2010


St Patrick’s Day Derby in aid of Cancer Research UK to be run at The Festival

Cheltenham Racecourse today announced that multiple Derby-winning trainer Henry Cecil will be the Guest of Honour for the first ever St Patrick’s Day Derby at Cheltenham on Thursday, March 17, 2011. The one mile, five furlong charity flat race, run as the seventh race that day, will raise money for Cancer Research UK, this season’s chosen Festival charity.

Commenting upon his involvement, Cecil said: “I was delighted and honoured to be invited by Cheltenham to get involved in the St Patrick’s Day Derby. I’ve always admired the wonderful sport at The Festival from afar, but this will be my first ever visit to the meeting and I am looking forward to sampling the atmosphere at first hand.

“Cancer is an illness that touches most families at some point and my family is no different, so it will be marvellous to be able to play a small part in helping to raise as much money as possible for Cancer Research UK, a charity which does so much to help the fight against this disease.”

This will be the last time for several years that St Patrick’s Day is on a Festival raceday and the occasion will be marked by a series of events and displays with a uniquely Irish feel. The Cheltenham team is hoping that the special charity race and the presence of Henry Cecil will add further interest to what is already a spectacular day of high-class Jump racing.

The Racecourse’s Managing Director, Edward Gillespie, said: “Henry Cecil’s achievements are the stuff of legend, but what is equally remarkable is his universal popularity amongst the racing fraternity, from racegoers, betting shop punters and casual racing fans to fellow trainers and the sport’s professionals across the globe.

“It is a privilege for us to be welcoming him to The Festival for a Derby of a slightly different nature, especially one that is being run in aid of such a good cause. We hope that Henry’s involvement might even attract entries from Derby-winning trainers!”  

Jools Tait, Director of Partnerships of Cancer Research UK, added: “We are thrilled to be involved in this exciting addition to The Festival 2011.

“Last year’s charity race on Ladies Day helped us to raise over £150,000 at Cheltenham and, with the generous support of Henry Cecil, we are hoping to exceed that figure this year.”

Applications are now being invited for the charity race, with a maximum field of 12 runners, open to any amateur riders, licensed or not. Each rider is required to raise a minimum of £5,000 in sponsorship and participants have to provide their own mount, which must have run at least twice under the recognised Rules of Racing. Applications close on December 31, 2010.

For further information about the charity race, or to receive an application form, please contact Sarah Oliver on 01886 884488 or via sph.oliver@btinternet.com

For more information about Cancer Research UK, please contact Davina Yanful on 020 3469 5255 or via davina.yanful@cancer.org.uk

For further information about St. Patrick’s Day activities or any aspect of racing at Cheltenham, please contact Cheltenham’s Communications Manager, Andy Clifton on 07876 330090 or via andy.clifton@thejockeyclub.co.uk

About Henry Cecil

Henry Cecil is one of the most popular and successful trainers in the history of Flat racing in Britain. His career started in 1969, since when he has won 24 British Classics, including four Epsom Derbys, has been Champion Trainer 10 times and has a career tally of well over 3,000 winners. In over 40 years as a trainer, he has won most of the biggest races in Europe and many others around the world.

About Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research is the world’s leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research. Visit www.cancerresearchuk.org for more information.

About The Festival

The Festival 2011 takes place at Cheltenham Racecourse from Tuesday, March 15 to Friday, March 18.


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