Injured Jockeys Fund News
Sky Bet, sponsor of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, has announced a new annual initiative for the popular first race of the Cheltenham Festival meeting.
Whilst this year has already seen several sports such as darts and Formula One address the issue of using promotional girls, Sky Bet have taken the decision to use the walk-in of the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner to instead raise the profile of a nominated charity in front of the thousands of racegoers lining the walk to the winner’s enclosure, as well as the millions more watching on ITV.
This year’s Sky Bet Supreme Novices Hurdle will see the UK’s most popular online bookmaker link up with the Injured Jockeys Fund with Sky Bet not only offering the IJF the honour and profile of walking in the first race winner of racing’s biggest week of the year but also donating £5000 to the charity.
For their part the IJF have given the honour of walking in the Festival’s first winner to one of their many beneficiaries; former jockey Richard Hawkins.
Sandro Di Michele, head of PR for Sky Bet, said: “We have long felt the use of Walk-In girls for promotional uses has had its day in sport and the time was right to use this exposure opportunity more positively. This honour that Sky Bet will be providing to a charity each year will afford them some great exposure given there is so much anticipation and excitement for the Festival’s curtain-raising Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Race.
“As soon as we decided this we knew that the Injured Jockeys Fund was absolutely the right charity to work with for the first winner’s walk-in and their decision to give that honour to one of their many beneficiaries, Richard, is inspired.
“Richard’s backstory is an amazing one and shows just why the IJF is such a vital cause for racing fans to get behind.”
Paul Taplin of the IJF said: “All eyes are on the winning horse after a race as big as Cheltenham Festival’s curtain-raiser and thanks to Sky Bet’s ground-breaking new initiative, it is great that the Injured Jockeys Fund will be the first charity to benefit from that, highlighting a part of the work we do and enable a former jockey and IJF beneficiary to be involved in this way.”
Former jockey Richard Hawkins, who has the honour of leading in the winner said: “Personally, like every young jockey, it was my dream to one day walk into the winner’s enclosure at the Cheltenham Festival and even though I’ll be leading in front of the Sky Bet Supreme Novices winner - rather than on board - this is the next best thing not just for myself but also for promoting the vital work of the Injured Jockeys Fund.”
How Racegoers Can Give to The IJF with Sky Bet
In addition to Sky Bet’s £5000 donation to the IJF the bookmaker is encouraging Cheltenham racegoers and fans watching at home to also give what they can to the charity. They can do so by donating on line www.injuredjockeys.co.uk
Text IJF to 70800 to donate £5
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