Top-class horses owned by a Middle East prince are to race for a Yorkshire racing charity this summer.
Prize money accrued by 20 horses nominated by Sheikh Joaan, a member of the Qatar royal family, will be donated towards Jack Berry House, the £3m centre for injured jockeys being built in Malton. It includes the £50,000 accrued so far by the horses – a sum boosted by £28,000 when Richard Fahey’s exciting filly Sandiva won at Newmarket last month.
And, in another benefit for the centre, the Sheikh also donated the £121,000 his highly-rated miler Olympic Glory won when galloping to victory in the Group One JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday under Frankie Dettori.
This act of benevolence – now £170,000 and counting – came after the Sheikh saw a television interview at York last week with Mr Berry, a Leeds-born trainer and the driving force behind the Injured Jockeys Fund for five decades. He was so moved by Mr Berry’s determination and the facilities planned for jockeys recovering from injury, that he asked Harry Herbert, who runs Al Shaqab Racing, to devise the money-raising scheme.
Mr Berry, who lives in North Yorkshire and had a race staged in his honour at Market Rasen yesterday, paid tribute to the Sheikh’s generosity.
“What a great start with Olympic Glory winning,” said Mr Berry, who instigated the IJF 50 years ago when Yorkshire-based jockey Paddy Farrell was left paralysed following a fall in the Grand National. “I know everyone at the Injured Jockeys Fund will be cheering on those 20 horses all season.”
Jack Berry House, which is due to open at the end of the year, is based on the charity’s Oaksey House in Lambourn where one-to-one medical expertise and treatment has helped the recovery of countless Yorkshire riders in the past five years, including Brian Toomey who suffered life-threatening head injuries last summer.
Details about Jack Berry House are at www.injuredjockeys.co.uk/about-jack-berrys-house.asp