A Side-saddle Dash, in aid of Southern Spinal Injuries Trust, kindly sponsored by the Andy Stewart Charitable Foundation, takes place at Wincanton on 25 October 2015. And the winning lady jockey will take home The Field Cup
The inaugural SSIT Side-saddle Dash, kindly sponsored by the Andy Stewart Charitable Foundation, is set to be an extraordinary spectacle. For the first time an on-course side-saddle race will be run on a British racecourse. Wearing traditional side-saddle dress, 11 plucky Dianas will pound the turf in a thrillling one mile two furlong gallop to the finish. Be sure to put 25 October in your diary.
Advance tickets start from £16 and are available at www.wincantonracecourse.co.uk or by calling 0844 579 3014. Children aged 17 and under race free when accompanied by an adult. Gates open at 11am on Sunday, 25th October with the Dash scheduled to take place before the first official race at 1:25pm.
SSIT SIDE-SADDLE DASH
The race, organised by jeweller and sidesaddle afficionado Philippa Holland, is an adaptaion of the Dianas of the Chase Cup. The Dianas of the Chase side-saddle steeplchase, first held in Somerset in 1924, has been revived over the past two years. The race is now an annual Leicestershire fixture and will run this year on 29 November.
The late October fixture at Wincanton has long been synonymous with a charity fixture. For the past two years Wincanton has been assciated with the SSIT.
Sally Moger, Charity Manager at the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust, said:
“Our partnership with Wincanton Racecourse is a fantastic way for us to help more people with spinal cord injuries. All the side-saddle riders are fundraising for the charity, and donations can also be made at our website or at our Virgin Money Giving page. Our much-needed funds are used to provide grants that help injured people buy specialist equipment to make a real difference in their daily living.”
SIDE-SADDLE DASH: THE FIELD CUP
The winning lady jockey will be presented with The Field Cup, kindly donated by The Field Magazine and presented by actor Martin Clunes. The second placed jockey will receive a side-saddle whip supplied by The Vintage Tack Shop and a Longmans cheese board for third. All riders will receive a posies kindly donated by Sprout & Flower florist and a special Dianas of The Chase silver arrow brooch.
SIDE-SADDLE DASH: RUNNERS AND RIDERS
They have elegance by the bucketfull and barrow loads of grit. The 11 lady jockeys have a wealth of point-to-point, hunting and side-saddle experience. Ladies will race on appropriate thoroughbreds, largely ex racehorses. They will be led down to the start by the legendary Big Bucks ridden by Lucy Tucker.
Amanda Soar (Leeds)
Amanda (28) has a rich background in all things equine from hunting, showjumping to team chasing After leaving school, Amanda worked in horseracing andis currently a work rider for Richard Whitaker. She also trains and rides point to pointers, and recently rode in a charity race at Doncaster. Amanda hunts regularly sidesaddle and won the Bedale Hunt Ride this year. She is looking to compete in the Melton, Golden Button and Diana’s of the Chase. Horse:Bkeen.
Aiofe Byrne (Norfolk)
Irish born, Aiofe Byrne(33) lives in Norfolk where she works as a veterinary surgeon at Chapelfield Equine Clinic specialising in stud work, internal medicine & ophthalmology. She has been riding side-saddle for 20 years and frequently enjoys hunting in England and Ireland. Aiofe has been lucky enough to ride in two Diana of the Chase Cups and will be borrowing a thoroughbred for the SSIT Side-saddle Dash.
Clare Gundry (Dorset)
Clare (32) has ridden over 130 winners point-to-pointing and under rules. Four times leading lady point to point champion in Ireland where she representedthe country in the 2009 Fegentri Series. Claire had ridden side saddle since a child and continues with a successful career as jockey / trainer.
Georgina Preston (Taunton, Somerset)
Georgina is a highly experienced rider with a French horse called Nil De Mee which ran under rules before coming over to the UK to point-to-point. The duo took part in a charity flat race – finishing close second. She continues to hunt with the Taunton Vale and has participated in the Golden Button Cross Country Race. Georgina is currently at the Royal Agricultural University.
Lizzie Harris (Leicestershire)
Lizzie has ridden all her life and has won the Ingarsby (Diana’s of the Chase) side-saddle Cross Country Race. She is also a keen point-to-point rider.
Horse: Wild West formerly trained by Jonjo O’Neill with a successful career under rules ridden by champion jockey, AP McCoy in the infamous green and yellow striped silks of JP McManus. Lizzie has retrained him for side-saddle and team chases.
Lucy Holland (Bicester, Oxon)
She has ridden side-saddle for 13 years and hunts with the Bicester Pack. Lucy is a regular member of the side-saddle chase team and has ridden in Golden Button twice. Her horse, Harry Up, is a former flat racehorse which now events, team chases, hunts and plays polo!
Philippa Holland (London / Dorset-based)
Philippa is the race organiser and has ridden in many renewals of Diana’s of the Chase Cup. Philippa hunts and team chases side-saddle regularly. She has ridden in many point-to-points and also rode in the charity Magnolia Cup at Glorious Goodwood on three occasions.
Rachael Harding (Gloucestershire-based)
Another rider with a history of all things equine! As a sixteen-year-old, Rachel was introduced to the art of side-saddle and has competed in a number of Diana’s of The Chase Cups. She also rode at Cheltenham Festival in the 2013 charity flat race raising money for Cancer Research UK.
Horse: Where’s The Boss, another former association with Jonjo O’Neill. Rachel has retrained him to sidesaddle and hunts regularly.
Sarah Jane Townend
For the last five seasons, Sarah has competed in many point-to-points and in a charity flat race at Doncaster. As work ridden for Mark Johnston, she has an abundance of race-riding skills and tactics! Sarah has hunted side-saddle for eight seasons and competed in the 2014 Diana’s of the Chase Cup.
Susan Oakes (County Meade)
Susan broke the world record sidesaddle jump at almost six foot eight inches – not very relevant to Wincanton’s SSIT Side-saddle Dash – but still highly impressive! She won the inaugural running of the Diana’s of the Chase Cup and lives and hunts side-saddle in Ireland as continues to ride in point-to-points.
Tabby is a keen sidesaddle team chase rider and was second in last year’s Diana’s of the Chase Cup. OC Cup last year. She will ride former pointer -American Eagle.
SIDE-SADDLE DASH: WINCANTON RACECOURSE
The SSIT Side-saddle Dash and Wincanton racecourse are a fitting partnership, as Huw Williams, Wincanton Racecourse’s General Manager, explains:
“I love the originality of this inaugural Side-saddle Dash – the uniqueness of the race and its strong rural association really reflections all things Wincanton, and we very much hope the Dash is the first of many. I am sure that the day will raise a huge amount for the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust, which is sure a worthwhile cause in the region.”
Wincanton Racecourse is situated in the heart of Somerset – home to rural jump racing. Wincanton stages 17 meetings each season. Please find more details on the website and through Twitter (@WincantonRaces) and Facebook facebook.com/WincantonRaces.