by Charlotte Cooper

Eight brave amateurs will saddle up on borrowed horses to race round the Aintree Racecourse on 27 October, at the Halloween themed Countryside Day. We are very grateful to the National Horseracing College which has helped a number of them with training and assessment. Read their stories and please do sponsor them, below. They are all riding in aid of The Countryside Alliance Foundation, which funds our charities - Fishing for Schools, Casting for Recovery UK & Ireland and Falconry for Schools

 Sam Butler: Sam, who led the CA’s Campaign for Hunting for many years, has ridden and hunted since the age of three and was part of the Warwickshire mastership for 22 seasons.

Sam is currently chairman of the Warwickshire and hunts regularly with his wife Ali, an equine vet, and their 10-year-old son Arthur. Together the family jump almost anything they come across.

Sam is a founding partner of Butler Sherborn, The Cotswold Property Specialists. Butler Sherborn is the exclusive sponsor of Ben Pauling Racing, and indeed Sam ran this race last year on Andrew and Jane Megson’s Powerful Symbol.

Despite all his pre-race intentions, the race did not go exactly planned; no fault of the horse’s! Sam enjoyed the preparation and race so much that he is eager to have another ride, and to win, or at least do better!

Sam has been riding out with the Ben Pauling string twice a week in preparation for this year’s Countryside Alliance Aintree Charity Race. To date Sam is kept guessing as to the identity of his race ride!

Sam is passionate about country sports in general and wants to ensure there is a long-term future ahead for them which is why the CA, and the allied charities, are causes very close to him.

Sponsor Sam at -

 Paul Conway: Farrier Paul is Holcombe field master has evented at three-star. He took part in the Aintree race in 2017. Sponsor Paul at -

Stephanie Germany: Sports therapist and acupuncturist Stephanie is riding 15 to 20 horses a week for trainers Robin Brisland and Adam Pogson in preparation for her ride at Aintree. She will ride Multitalented, owned by Nigel Hardy in this, her first race, but she used to ride work at Southwell 10 years ago.

Stephanie is married to an arable farmer and lives near Newark, where she hunts with the Grove and Rufford and is an active member of the supporters’ club, as well as eventing her ex-racer Rolo at BE100 level.

She is supporting the Countryside Alliance because of the work we do to encourage young people into country sports.

Sponsor Stephanie at -

Hugh Hutchinson Smith: Hugh was a late addition to the race, signing up just a month before the big day, but is fit and raring to go as he has four horses he hunts with the Wynnstay and is riding out daily for Ollie Greenall.

Hugh, 27, is the design manager at Air Covers, which manufactures textile products for the aerospace industry and has never race ridden before, although he has taken part in hunt races and team chases.

“I used to ride out for Ollie when he was just starting out and had just 10 horses, now he has more than 50, so it’s great fun to saddle up for him again.”

He will ride one of Ollie Greenall’s horses in the race.

 Maurice McCarthy: A legend in the charity race world, this will be Maurice’s 46th charity race and he says he has loved every single one!

He claims to have raised more charity money than any other jockey – more than £200,000 in the past 10 years – for causes including the Injured Jockeys’ Fund, Children in Need, Macmillan Cancer Relief and of course the Countryside Alliance, for whom he has raised around £15,000 over the years.

Maurice, who runs McCarthy Waste Management Ltd and did not sit on a horse until he was 36, won the Newmarket Town Plate in August by a record 86 lengths and broke the track record for the race in the process.

He is also the sole representative for England in the 2019 Corinthian Challenge - a three leg charity race series which will take place at The Curragh, Cork and Leopardstown Racecourses from 21 July – 26 October.

 Sharon Morris: Sharon, 41, is married to Merseyside trainer Patrick Morris so rides out up to 12 horses each morning. She raced twice on the Flat in Ireland and used work for point-to-point trainer Sheila Crow. 

She took part in a charity race at Ludlow last year and was disappointed to come in third as she says she should have won.

“When I worked on the point-to-point yard I used to hunt quite a bit with the Winnstay and I support the aims of the Countryside Alliance.”

 Emma Ogle: Emma point to pointed for 3 seasons when she was 16, winning her first race and has have hunted with the Grove and Rufford Hunt for 17 seasons. She says she has tried eventing, dressage, showjumping etc "but nothing is as good as point to pointing" and she is starting to get back into racing after having a little boy nine months ago. She will be  riding for Laura Morgan, but no horse confirmed yet. Sponsor Emma at -

 Tony Williams: Tony “Tubba” Williams had 19 rides on the Flat and rode in 19 point-to-points in his native Australia from 1977-1982 but had not race ridden again until he rode in a point-to-point at Kelso last year – “a great buzz”! He has worked in the racing industry all his life and has been MD of Goffs UK for the past three years.

He is running and cycling each day to get race fit as well as riding out for Alistair Whillans in Hawick. He will ride one of his own horses at Aintree.

Tony, who subscribes to the Jedd Forest, said: “Farmers and country businesses seem to be getting left out - the Countryside Alliance gives them a voice. I jumped at the chance to ride at Aintree and to support this cause.”

Sponsor Tony at -




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