A Bumper Charity Race this Sunday at Larkhill
When the South & West Wilts opted to revive a charity Flat race at Larkhill they asked licensed trainer Simon Earle to be the organiser.
Three months ago he sought interest in the project via a Facebook posting and was knocked over in the rush. Expecting a smattering of enquiries, he received more than 100.
After filtering the casually interested from the fully committed no fewer than 29 entries have come together the Simon Earle Charity Flat Race – which takes place on Sunday – has become three contests, two for thoroughbreds and the other for non-thoroughbreds, all raising money for the local air ambulance and Racing Welfare.
Earle says: "There used to be a charity race at the South & West Wilts meeting when it was run at the end of the season, but the ground was invariably too quick and horses had been roughed off. Now it's held earlier in the season and we've taken on the charity race. The interest has been immense."
Earle asked competitors to raise £400 each and the total so far has gone past £13,500 and is still rising.
He says: "We decided to run two of the races for thoroughbreds and they will be staged before the point-to-point card. I've put on a race for non-thoroughbreds after racing in the hope that the crowd will stay and cheer on the riders. Many decades ago people would turn up and ride hunters in point-to-points, and I love the idea of people having a go."
The air ambulance is a charity close to Earle's heart, for he once suffered a fall and was helicoptered to hospital, and he says of Racing Welfare: "It's a charity that is open to everybody involved in racing, including stable staff and it helps in so many ways, from advice on finances to housing and counselling."