Claire saddles up to fulfil her racing dream

TRAINING Amateur jockey Claire Brown
TRAINING Amateur jockey Claire Brown
Saxon's ashes and ball. Photo: Twitter @HantsFireDogs

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IT SOUNDS like the plot of a Hollywood film.

A racehorse rescuer’s lifelong dream comes true when she gets the chance to take part in an official horse race.

But that’s what will happen to Claire Brown when she rides Current Climate in the 5.15pm at Fontwell Park tomorrow.

The 43-year-old mum-of-one has a hectic day job as finance manager at City Tech in Portsmouth, but before and after work she looks after her 11 steeds as well as taking in rescue horses.

Just one month ago she was given the opportunity of taking part in an amateur charity race in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital after someone pulled out.

It’s been an intensive few weeks training but she now feels ready to take on the race of a lifetime.

Claire, of Manor Road, Hayling Island, said: ‘This is something I have never done before, nor thought I would ever have the opportunity to do, so when they approached me I jumped at the chance.

‘Even as an amateur I have to have a licence so I spent the day at Newmarket, riding their racehorses and taking an exam to obtain my Amateur Jockey Licence.

‘It was only then, working at speed on the training gallops with seven other riders, that I realised what I was letting myself in for.

‘When I started training, whilst I appreciated the skill and stamina that professional jockeys have, I had no idea the physical and mental exertion I would experience.’

Claire has been training at the race yard in Storrington, West Sussex, and hopes all the hard work will pay off.

She will be supported by family, friends and colleagues tomorrow in the one-mile flat race and is hoping to raise hundreds of pounds for the world famous children’s hospital.

‘It’s like the Grand National – it’s anyone’s race,’ said Claire. ‘We’re all novices. But I’m hoping to make top three. It’s going to be the most amazing experience.’

To sponsor Claire go to make a donation via her Just Giving web page