Thank You NHS - Horse Racing Unites

News | 2nd June 2020

Thursday will mark a special day of thanks across ITV's Royal Ascot broadcast; the terrestrial broadcaster paying tribute to all NHS and key workers that worked to keep the country going throughout lockdown.

The past 3 months has also allowed the horse racing community to show itself to be a source of considerable charity. Below we’ve compiled just a few of the sport’s initiatives that lent a helping hand when it was most needed.

Racing’s Big Guns Team Up For Equestrian Relief

A host of top equestrian personalities teamed up to raise money on behalf of Equestrian Relief, whose aim is to harness the power of equestrian sport to raise money and change lives, with donations going directly to the NHS Charities COVID-19 Urgent Appeal. Sir AP McCoy was one of a number of famous faces to take part in the fundraising initiative launched by the team behind Bolesworth and Liverpool International Horse Shows. Eventing world champions Ros Canter and Zara Tindall, Olympic gold medallists Carl Hester and Scott Brash, plus McCoy and Frankie Dettori from the horse racing ranks, surpassed the goal to raise £100,000 in 10 days by completing a series of tasks. In total the equestrian world helped to raise £250,000 for NHS charities.

Palace House Powers PPE Push 

Elsewhere, the National Horse Racing Museum loaned its 3D printer to a local Bottisham-based engineering student, Georgie Altham, to produce face masks for the NHS and local care homes. Altham said: “The printer lent by Palace House is the best one I’ve worked with – and will be printing approximately 30 masks a day. I am also making PPE mask frames to donate to the NHS using my 3D printer and I was looking for more printers which would allow me to increase production so that we can donate as many as possible as quickly as we can.”

Ice Age For Racing Welfare and NHS Charities Together

Those within the racehorse training ranks have all been quick to help throughout the troubled times. Eve Johnson Houghton and Harry Whittington are just two of many trainers from across the country who have teamed up with racing club ‘In This Together Racing’ in a charity venture, formed to support health workers by training a horse to raise funds for the NHS. Johnson-Houghton has selected Ice Age, an eight-time winner with earnings of £227,175, for the scheme, which sees all profits split equally between Racing Welfare and NHS Charities Together.

York’s Stableside Switches Focus

Several racecourses have stepped up throughout this time of hardship to both raise money and donate resources in an effort to assist our NHS. One of those, York Racecourse has been playing its part with several initiatives to support a community that has been its home since 1731. The Stableside part of the organisation, which usually provides accommodation for stable staff, has switched its focus to offer NHS staff a place to stay. Some NHS staff are facing the extra challenge of being isolated from their own families, sometimes by travel distance or perhaps because their own household has vulnerable members. They need somewhere to sleep, have a meal and find a space to recharge their batteries, which is where Stableside has been able to help. This is being done whilst respecting the social distancing protocols and so the wellbeing of the small team and their guests.


With the sporting world fixing its gaze onto the Royal meeting, Ascot racecourse has launched the #StyledWithThanks campaign to assist those affected by COVID-19. Throughout the week Ascot is inviting fans across the globe to dress up, with a hat, and take part in “Royal Ascot At Home”. Whether it is a ladies’ hat, men’s top hat, panama, trilby or other racing hat, all you have to do is simply take and share a photo on social media using the campaign hashtags #StyledWithThanks. Every photo shared is in with the chance of winning some amazing prizes, while helping those affected by COVID-19. Participants are being encouraged to donate £5 to the campaign fundraising page, share their outfit photo and tell their friends to do the same, helping to spread the #StyledWithThanks message in recognition of those working on the frontline of the global COVID-19 crisis. Ascot launched its appeal with a very generous £100,000 donation. All money raised will be split between four frontline charities: The National Emergencies Trust Relief Fund, NHS Charities Together, The Care Workers Charity and the Berkshire Community Foundation Coronavirus Fund. It’s wonderful to be able to highlight so many inspiring initiatives born out of activity from members with the equine community. I have no doubt that you’ll join us and ITV in thanking all key workers throughout the ITV coverage tomorrow.