Lily-Clare’s Racing Dreams Come True
At Lingfield Park Racecourse
Making dreams come true went way beyond the betting ring at Lingfield Park on February 24th when a special young lady fulfilled her lifelong ambition to be a jockey for the day.
Ten-year-old Lily-Clare, who suffers from a serious lung condition, took to the race track before the first thoroughbred race to show professional jockey Hollie Doyle what she was made off.
As she romped home first across the finishing line, the crowd – attending the Betway Winter Derby at the Surrey racecourse – erupted into a cheer.
‘That was just brilliant,’ she declared after the ride. ‘I absolutely loved it!’
‘I took my first horse-riding lesson on my fourth birthday and have practiced twice a week ever since. When my mum asked me what my biggest dream was, I immediately said that I wanted to know what it was like to be a real jockey, riding a race horse in front of lots of people. Today I’ve been able to do that!’
The ride had been made possible through the charity Dreams Come True which enlisted the help of Newmarket-based Katie Margarson, Assistant Trainer from Margarson Racing. Katie contacted the team at Lingfield Park to make the dream a reality.
‘None of this would have been possible without a lot of peoples’ help,’ commented Katie. ‘We owe huge thanks to Paula Kent and Alex Ball for providing the ponies – Honky Tonk Girl which Lily-Clare rode and Flo Tinaway, ridden by Hollie Doyle.
‘Hollie has been amazing today – really encouraging Lily-Clare. But the real star has been that little girl. She has carried out television interviews, ridden the pony and met scores of strangers, but is taking it all in her stride.’
Lily-Clare’s mum, Elane, admitted she was in tears watching her little girl fulfil her dream. ‘The whole family is here to cheer her on and it was so emotional,’ she added. ‘Lily-Clare has been through a lot since she was diagnosed with the rare lung condition, Bronchiectasis, so to see her so happy today means the world to us.’
The family, from Ashford in Kent, dined in the Trackside Restaurant after Lily-Clare’s ride, and even watched the youngster present the winning prize to Jeff Sargeant, owner of Grandfather Tom, ridden to victory by Eoin Walsh in the third race of the day, The 32Red Novice Stakes. She even got to meet world-famous ex-jockey AP McCoy, who was enjoying a day at Lingfield Park.
Wendy Gray, from the Dreams Come True charity, said she was thrilled with how the day had gone. ‘This has been so special for Lily-Clare, which is what our charity is all about. This is a little girl who has had her life disrupted by illness since the age of three. We just wanted to give her a wonderful experience for her to look back on.’
David Toulson-Burke, Executive Director of Lingfield Park Resort, said everyone had pulled together to make the day happen. ‘This is a great example of what makes Lingfield Park tick. Today has been all about making Lily-Clare’s dream come true and we have been delighted to be able to help with that.’