Ascot chief executive Guy Henderson is no stranger to two wheels and a pair of cycling shorts, but his son, Exeter University law student Edward, is taking pedalling to an extreme.
A keen rider with a handful of victories on the point-to-point circuit, Henderson Jr and three mates – all fellow amateur jockeys – are aiming to cycle around every Irish racecourse, a journey of 1,442 kilometres which they expect will take up to 11 days. In company with Zac Baker, the brother of former top Flat jockey George, Hugh Nugent and Ed Bailey, Henderson will set off on Sunday, 24 hours after the Royal Meeting concludes, aiming to raise money for Mind, the mental health charity, and the Injured Jockeys’ Fund.
Both charities are close to the cyclists’ hearts, for they know many riders who have been helped by the IJF, and they were also struck by the tragedy that befell a former British champion point-to-point rider, Richard Woollacott, the Devon-based trainer who took his life earlier this year.
Guy Henderson said: “My son Edward, with three friends, is cycling to every racecourse in Ireland to raise money for the mental health charity Mind and also the Injured Jockeys’ Fund. They have some sponsorship from Horseracing Ireland and hope to pick up some support from the Irish racecourses as they go.
“As a family we all go cycling, but he wanted to do something that was an adventure, and he and his friends cooked up the idea of heading to Ireland. I’ll be chuffed if he completes his goal because it’s a really good way to spend his time.
“My only advice to him has been to take plenty of Vaseline!”
Nugent is said to be a keen cyclist, but the other three are part-timers who seem set for a punishing schedule.
Anyone wishing to encourage the riders and help raise money for two fantastic causes, can donate via their Facebook page – ‘Ed, Ed, Zac and Hugh Cycle to all 26 Irish Racecourses’ or via the link: https://www.facebook.com/
or the Just Giving website ‘Cycling to all 26 Irish Racecourses’: