Amateur riders join Nick Skelton and Ben Hobday in Willberry race

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Eight amateur riders have been picked to ride in a Willberry charity race at Cheltenham, where they will compete against top riders, including Nick Skelton and Ben Hobday.

Raise £100,00

The Champions Willberry Charity Race is in aid of Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony and the Bob Champion Cancer Trust.

Nick Skelton, Ben Hobday, Tina Cook and either William or Alice Fox-Pitt have signed up for the race, while the remaining jockeys were whittled down from over 600 entrants.

Bob Champion was on the selection committee and said it was a tough job.

“Everyone who applied was worthy, so it all came down to suitability and fundraising,” he said. “We hope we have got a good mix of people and that everyone else still comes along on the day, to join us for lunch, or just to watch, and to be a part of this special occasion.”

Each rider has pledged to raise a minimum of £2,500 and it is hoped the race will make at least £100,000 for these two worthy charities.

The riders are:

Madeleine Bunbury, 21, an artist who divides her time between Dorset and Mustique.

Anne Dawson, 37, a policewoman and passionate equestrian from Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire.

Abigail Dean, 27, an event rider from Gloucestershire. She previously worked for the late Sir Henry Cecil, who battled with cancer.

Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, 27, chairman of Qatar Racing and participant in the 2016 Mongol Derby.

Scott Lowther, 43, director of a construction company and a racing and eventing enthusiast, from Waterbeck in Scotland.

Catherine Mills, 37, from Amersham, works for a member’s only lifestyle and management company and is an amateur event rider.

Ben Moore, 39, a soldier from Melton Mowbray. Before he joined the army, Ben worked in racing and wants to take part in this race for his pony-mad daughter who is fighting cancer.

Jasean Spraggett, 24, a showjumper and working hunter rider from Leicestershire. Nicknamed ‘Quevega’ due to her love of all things Cheltenham. (Quevega won the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival a record six times in a row.)

The reserves are, Kim Franklin, 50, a property landlord from Hertfordshire; Ross Sanderson Jago, 39, a bid manager from Buckinghamshire; and Alison Tyas, 36, a nursery assistant from Norfolk.


Ian Peters, trustee of Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony charity, said: “We never cease to be amazed at the generosity and spirit of our supporters and we want to thank everyone who applied to ride in this race.

“Bob and Hannah are both an inspiration to the equestrian community and our shared goal of #kickingcancersbutt unites the charities in a common purpose.  Now we want everyone, riders and supporters alike, to come and support the brave riders and both charities on the day.”

For details of the event and how to sponsor the jockeys or donate money, please go to