Jockeys to team up with showjumpers at Olympia

Markel jockeys William Buick, left, and Sam Thomas.
Markel Ambassador jockeys William Buick, left, and Sam Thomas. © Matthew Joseph

A special jumping competition between flat and jumps jockeys will take place at Olympia this year, and the Injured Jockeys Fund is to be the London International Horse Show’s charity of the year.

The show runs at Olympia from December 16 to 22, and insurer Markel International, is sponsoring the Markel Champions Challenge, on Friday, December 19.

A team of three flat jockeys and one show jumper will compete against three jump jockeys and one show jumper in a series of different challenges including jumps and pony club style games.  Those taking part will be announced early in the autumn, and the starters are likely to include Markel’s Ambassador jockeys, Sam Thomas and William Buick.

Lisa Hancock, Chief Executive of the Injured Jockeys Fund, said it was the IJF’s 50th anniversary year. “The Markel Champions Challenge for the Injured Jockeys Fund is sure to provide a fun – and highly competitive – spectacle for the crowd, plus will help raise awareness of the important work we do at the IJF in supporting injured jockeys and their families.”

London International Horse Show Olympia Show Director Simon Brooks-Ward said the special competition is sure to be “a great spectacle which is sure to entertain the Olympia audience, as well as hopefully raising lots of money for a very worthy cause”.

The Injured Jockeys Fund was founded in 1964 following the devastating accidents to Tim Brookshaw, and then Paddy Farrell in the 1964 Grand National. The Fund has since spent more than £17 million in helping more than 1000 jockeys whose injuries have forced some of them to give up riding. The aim of the IJF is to maintain this ethos with continuing support for existing beneficiaries and to provide immediate and effective help to all newly injured jockeys in whatever way is appropriate to ensure a reasonable quality of life for them and their families. The IJF has two respite and rehabilitation centres, Oaksey House in Berkshire, opened by Patron HRH The Princess Royal in 2009, and Jack Berry House in Yorkshire, set to open in the Spring of 2015.

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