Chloe Bowkett’s Cheltenham charity race challenge – week 6

Monday 7th March

Had to give myself a big day off yesterday. My legs were so tired and shaky when I got out of bed in the morning, I could barely walk down the stairs, let alone go riding or run on a treadmill!


The mechanical horse that I’ve been going on at the racecourse was really tough and I think doing it a couple of days in a row of that and a workout on Saturday really didn’t give me enough time to rest.

Chloe tries on her jockey gear

Above and main pic (top): Chloe rides
Ambrose Princess

With that in mind, I didn’t really want to go riding today. It might do more harm than good! So I went to the gym and did some conditioning; nothing too strenuous but just keeping the fitness levels up and preparing for the Big Race, which is only ONE WEEK away!

There’s been a bit of a shake-up to the race line-up as well. It seems the competition is changing! With Gordon Elliott being unable to compete, new rider Jamie Insole, (who’s only 16!) nephew of the National Hunt jockey William Kennedy, is very bravely stepping into the fray at the last minute. I’m nervous about the race, so I can only imagine how he’s feeling with such a short time to go.

Tuesday 8th March

Got back on the proverbial and literal horse today. Decided that I can do as much conditioning as I want, but it can’t beat actually developing my skill on horseback! However, I suppose at this stage, so close to the race, I should have enough skill already or else I can be legitimately worried!!

I rode out one lot at Nigel Twiston Davies’ yard ( It all went really well and so smoothly. That’s always really good when there’s nothing much to report riding-wise; it makes me more and more settled about racing a horse as I get more comfortable going on frequent rides. 

Yet more Boxercise torture to come tonight, I’m just going to set off for it. It’s so worth it though! Probably increased my fitness and agility (which is necessary on a horse) more than any number of 4k runs.

Thanks for donations today go to Ann Stanley from the HR Dept. at the Jockey Club ( Work colleagues have really been pulling for me with all of this and supporting me with their donations. I hope I do you all proud.

Wednesday 9th March

VERY early start today at work, so there is no way that I could fit in any exercise. It looks like it may be a long day too, so perhaps training at all today is going to be an issue. May have to give it a miss completely. Shame…

Was sad to hear of David England’s bad fall in the novice chase at Exeter yesterday. Sounded horrendous from what a lot of people have been saying, but it seems he’s on the mend, released from hospital and will be back on Friday (story here). That’s great news and best wishes for your recovery, David!

Spoke to Ambrose Princess’ trainer earlier. It seems she’s all set and ready for action! I’m riding her for the last time before the race on Sunday. I’m so looking forward to it, but at the same time I realise how close it is!! But it’s great to hear that Princess is raring to go; that bit more confidence could make all the difference.

Thursday 10th March – 7 DAYS TO GO

The racecard has finally come through! It’s very exciting, especially as I’m number one on the card. Hopefully that’s a good omen – just don’t forget the number for when you go to the bookies!!

Back to the gym in earnest for this last week; up early to the gym for a 4k run and free weight training. Arms like jelly at the moment! Not long to go.


Fri 11th March – 6 DAYS TO GO

Paddy Power have released all the odds on the Charity Derby riders. I’m on at 14–1, Niamh Flynn and Rachael Wyse (us three Blondes!) are on at 14–1 as well. That should make it easy for anyone who’s trying to remember whilst betting.

Off again to the gym tonight; I’m not sure if I should be pushing myself and feeling the burn like this, so close to the race. But it does make me feel as if I’m improving myself even now; it really makes me less nervous! It’s the nerves that will end up hindering me if I let them – it’s only 60,000 people I’m racing in front of, after all!

Saturday 12th March – 5 DAYS TO GO

Toby Stoate, from Stoate & Bishops Printing (, who did the lovely life-size posters for my charity party, has gone one more and very generously made up 100 limited edition TEAM CHLOE badges for people to wear as they come and support me at the Racecourse on St. Patrick’s Day.

So if you want one, come and find either myself or Sophie (the Campaign Manager!) on Thursday 17th and you can have one…in exchange for a generous donation to Cancer Research UK, of course!

Just working today, it’s getting busy this close to The Festival. Also, I thought it was good to give my muscles a rest; I’m back on Ambrose Princess tomorrow for one last practise ride, though. Can’t wait for that.

Sunday 13th March – 4 DAYS TO GO

So sorry to hear about AP McCoy and the horse ‘Binocular’. That’s got to be so gutting to be this close to a race and have the horse pulled out. It will be interesting to see what comes out of this story. I’m working at The Festival preview this evening, I’m sure there will be a lot of talk about it.

But back to the Big Charity Derby, I rode Princess again this morning. For the very definite last time before the race on Thursday. Rode out in proper racing breeches as well, just to get comfortable and used to the feel of them as they are made of so so wafer-thin material.


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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