Chloe Bowkett’s Cheltenham charity race challenge – week 1

Chloe Bowkett is one of the six men and six women from various backgrounds who have been selected to ride in the charity race in aid of Cancer Research UK, the St Patrick’s Day Derby, at the Cheltenham Festival this year. This is the first of her weekly blogs where she will explain the training she is undertaking in preparation for the big day:

Monday 31st Jan

It was back to the office today – it’s been really busy at work, so am trying to juggle work, getting fit and learning to ride in a real race!

Been checking out my competitors on JustGiving too, and so far I’m on a par with them, which is fantastic as I’m no-way in the same league connections-wise as people like Alice Plunkett and Rachel Wyse. It’s all down to everyone donating and I’m really grateful.

Playing netball tonight and we have to win or we will drop to second in the league. It all helps with the fitness…Come on girls!

Tuesday 1st Feb

Had a great ride this morning on Dancer, had one canter and then two works – I was flat to the board! After riding, went to the gym and ran 4km; a long slog but I felt really good afterwards.

After sending out letters to friends and family last Thursday, I rushed home to see what was in my letterbox and I had £320! £300 from my Uncle Tony and Auntie Shirley, £20 from Chun Kong at The Mayflower Restaurant ( An extra £25 also came from my friend Maxine. Thank you all so much for your support, let’s keep it coming!

Weds 2nd Feb

Early, early start again today (this is becoming a habit!) just five hours’ sleep and then back to work.

No training today, so I can have a day off on the fitness front. My JustGiving page is looking really great; I am currently on £2324, so nearly halfway there with six weeks to go until the big day.

Thursday 3rd Feb

I’m on countdown now – six weeks to today I will be in the saddle gearing up for the race of my life.

More press was done today; the level of local support has been fantastic. I think I’ve been in more photo shoots than I have the gym recently!

I also have BIG thanks to give to David Savage at Excelerate. He sent me a huge cheque and really bumped me along donations-wise. It’s easier to be motivated when you can see the results like that!

Friday 4th Feb

Another early morning and riding out at the yard. A couple of canters then out on the gallops. I feel so much more comfortable on a horse than I have done in a while. Enjoying it a lot, even with sleep deprivation!

Also took the opportunity to really hit the gym. The muscles are building; I’m quite impressed with them myself – your wonderful donations have had some results already!

Sat 5th Feb

Weekend still means no rest for the wicked. Another gym trip this morning, to make up for the photo shoots. This time it was 4km run and weights to help those muscles keep growing.

Had a wonderful article published today in the Gloucestershire Echo. Jonathon Herbert, the racing editor (!/JHhorseracing) wrote it up and hopefully it will really help me out in my search for a horse! Read it here:


will be riding in the St Patrick’s Day Derby at The Festival in aid of Cancer Research

Chloe Bowkett, 26, from Cheltenham, is an Events Manager at Cheltenham Racecourse. Chloe has taken part in Pony Club activities from the age of eight, is an experienced show jumper and event rider. She says:

“Racing runs through my family’s blood. My father bred and owned Shylock’s Retreat, who qualified for the Grand National and the Gold Cup, after finishing second in the Foxhunter Chase at Aintree in 1988. I was in the winner’s enclosure in my buggy! My father and I bred a Pointer to Pointer who we broke in together. He is now qualified through the hunting field by myself.

“Working at Cheltenham Racecourse is fantastic, but to ride here is a dream come true. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to experience the thrill of riding at The Festival, but more importantly, I will raise a significant amount of money for Cancer Research, a charity close to my heart.”

If you would like to sponsor Chloe or make a donation please see her fundraising page at: 

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