Greyhound trainer eyes charity horserace

AMATEUR jockeys ranging from a teenager to a man in his fifties will be under starter's orders on Friday when they line up for a charity race at Fakenham Racecourse.

AMATEUR jockeys ranging from a teenager to a man in his fifties will be under starter's orders on Friday when they line up for a charity race at Fakenham Racecourse.

They will be taking part in the tenth Countryside Counts Raceday, at which country sports are put firmly on the racing agenda.

The meeting falls four years to the day after the government's ban on

hunting with hounds was introduced.

The amateur race raises money for the Countryside Alliance and various local charities and is run over the flat over a mile and a half. Each rider carries 12 stone.

The riders are all from East Anglia and are passionate about hunting. They regularly ride but have precious little race-riding experience.

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Among those competing will be greyhound trainer Julie Green, of Yaxham. Proceeds from Julie's fundraising will go directly to the Great Yarmouth Homefinders, the only national charity dedicated to finding homes for greyhounds once their racing days are over.

Julie told the Times: 'Greyhounds are such beautiful and living dogs. As soon as I decided to take on the challenge of riding in the charity horse race at Fakenham Racecourse, I knew I wanted to run it for the Retired Greyhound Trust to help support dogs in its care before they find new homes.'

The youngest rider is 16-year-old Stuart Higgins, from Erpingham, and the oldest is 'young-at-heart' 54-year-old Ed Howard.

Other riders are hairdresser and musician John Sparrowhawk, from East Harling; showjumper Lisa Declerk, of Griston; student Lucia Kendall, of Beccles; Riding for the Disabled instructor Adam Head, of Upwell, near Wisbech; assistant bloodstock agent Tori Tremlett and Newmarket work rider Sophie Silvester.

Fakenham clerk of the course and chief executive David Hunter said: 'I first

ran this amateur race nine years ago and I am

delighted that it has gone from strength to strength and is proving to be a very popular event with riders and the general public.'

Each rider has to find a suitable horse, raise a minimum of �750 sponsorship and get themselves and their horse fit.

In excess of �150,000 has been raised in total by the race over the past decade.

The amateur race starts at noon with the National Hunt programme starting at 1.25pm. Further information from David Hunter on 01328

862388.

To find out more about the Retired Greyhound Trust and adopting a retired greyhound log on to Homefinders at www.yarmouthstadium.co.uk/homefinder.htm or call David Jones on 0845 4583797, the Yarmouth branch of the charity.

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