All-Weather champions to donate portion of prize money to NHS

Ben Curtis was the runaway winner of this year's Champion All-Weather Jockey title, with 101 wins.
Ben Curtis was the runaway winner of this year's Champion All-Weather Jockey title, with 101 wins.

The winners of this year’s All-Weather Championships have been announced, with each of the six champions pledging at least a portion of their prize money to the NHS.

Two of the prize funds, for Champion Owner and Horse of the Year (Dubai Warrior) have been generously donated in full by Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, respectively, while the respective winners and runners-up in the Champion Jockey (Ben Curtis and Luke Morris), Champion Apprentice (George Rooke and Grace McEntee) and Champion Trainer (Mick Appleby) categories have all pledged a portion of their prize money to charity.

Lastly, the Gary Moore-trained Agent Of Fortune was named as the Winning Most Horse after racking up seven wins over the winter, and improving a remarkable 32 lb in the process. The five-year-old mare is owned by the Foreign Legion, who have pledged £1,000 of their Winning Most Horse prize to the NHS, as well as supporting the staff at Gary Moore's yard who were able to prepare Agent Of Fortune for a total of 11 starts across the truncated AWC season.

The money will support support SASH, the charity for East Surrey Hospital and all the services provided by Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, local to Lingfield Park, and Andrew Bickerdike, fundraising manager at SASH, said: "We are hugely grateful to all the various All-Weather Champions, and to Arena Racing Company, for this incredible show of support for our local hospital staff at this busy time.

"It is very much appreciated by all of us here at SASH Charity and Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. As a local hospital charity, the support of the racing community, and organisations and individuals of national and international standing is something we are very grateful for. Thank you from all of us."

Meanwhile, Curtis revealed he was delighted to be crowned as the  runaway winner of the Champion All-Weather Jockey award with 101 wins - 34 clear of Luke Morris in second.

He said: "I have had a brilliant campaign on the All-Weather over the winter. I rode winners for a lot of different contacts, particularly Mick Appleby and Tony Carroll who provided me with a lot of winners. Mick puts a lot of focus on the All-Weather and it was great to see him get his just rewards by being champion trainer.

"I had great support around me - I have a brilliant agent in Simon Dodds, my dad came over and drove me for a good while, and my wife kept my head in the right place and looked after our young lad, so I did not have to worry about any of that.

"Luke Morris and Hollie Doyle kept me on my toes the whole way through it. Both of them were riding winners relentlessly and it meant I had to up my game. In any sport you need competition, and I think the competition was rife this year.

"My one regret is falling just short of Luke Morris's record (102 wins). I would have loved to set a new British record for the All-Weather and, had we been able to finish the season, hopefully I would have done that.

"I am giving a donation of £2,000. The NHS do so much for us on a daily basis. I have had a few falls and they have always looked after me impeccably. I think now more than ever people are appreciating what they do."

All-Weather Championships winners

Champion All-Weather Jockey: Ben  Curtis

Champion All-Weather Apprentice Jockey: George Rooke

Champion All-Weather Trainer: Mick Appleby

Champion All-Weather Owner: Godolphin

Winning Most All-Weather Horse: Agent Of Fortune

All-Weather Horse Of The Year: Dubai Warrior

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