World’s oldest horse race is the challenge

Jockey Lois-Ann and her horse Chandlers Cross. Photo by Neale Blackburn Photography 2017.
Jockey Lois-Ann and her horse Chandlers Cross. Photo by Neale Blackburn Photography 2017.

Lois-Ann and her horse Chandlers Cross. Photo by Neale Blackburn Photography 2017

Lois-Ann O’Hara, of Stewkley, is taking on the Newmarket Town Plate for the first time and hopes to win the historic title. She will be going head-to-head with 15 other amateur jockeys, when the race kicks off the three-day Moet & Chandon 2017 July Festival at Newmarket Adnams July course.

She said: “I have been training and racing with Chandlers Cross for three years and before that I worked in racing for ten years before leaving and getting an office job. I really enjoy racing, it is hard to explain why, but it is an adrenaline sport and I like the buzz I get from it. I have always been someone that pushes themselves to the limit and racing does that for me, and I have met some lovely people along the way.”

The Newmarket Town Plate race, ridden only by amateurs, is run over a three-and -a-quarter mile course.

Lois’s 15-year-old horse, Chandlers Cross, will be retiring after the race.

The 29-year-old said: “This is one of our biggest and most important races. I am used to doing amateur jump races.

“My horse is now 15 so this will be his last race, his last jump race was at Easter and this one is like a big final race for him. He is so friendly and I will be keeping him, I want to take look after him and let him enjoy himself.

“This experience has been a learning curve for me and I want to thank everyone that has helped me along the way.

“In particular, Richard Clark, who has let me keep the horse at his, and Chris Coggin and the Kehoes, who have been there to offer me help and advice.”

Riders from across the world take part in the race and Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, who won the title last year, will be hoping to retain his title.