Glorious Goodwood 2022: The Magnolia Cup

Glorious Goodwood and The Magnolia Cup 2022: The much-anticipated 11th Markel Magnolia Cup will come under starters’ orders at Qatar Goodwood Festival on Thursday 28th July 2022.

The race took its name from the flourishing 290-year-old Magnolia grandifloras at Goodwood House following the 2nd Duke’s enthusiasm for horticulture, and since its inception 11 years ago, the philanthropic event has raised a phenomenal £1.8million.

A record year of fundraising was achieved in 2021 accounting for over £230,000 which was attributed to Smart Works.

This year, the Markel Magnolia Cup will support The Brilliant Breakfast initiative in aid of The Prince’s Trust. The Brilliant Breakfast is a nationwide, fundraising event, run annually for a week in October. It brings together friends, family and colleagues over breakfast, to raise money for young women on The Prince’s Trust programmes across the UK.

Annoushka Ducas, MBE, The Brilliant Breakfast Founder, commented: “We are so honoured that Goodwood has chosen us as the beneficiary of the Markel Magnolia Cup – there couldn’t be a better match for the famous all-female moment in the racing calendar.

“As the founder of The Brilliant Breakfast, which has raised over £1 million for young women, this is a fantastic opportunity to spread awareness for the lifechanging work of The Prince’s Trust.”

In the tradition of the race and its values, Goodwood also selects a well-known female-led fashion brand to create a collection of bespoke silks for the jockeys to wear, and in the past has welcomed Morvarid Sahafi, Hermes, Kate Moss, Liberty, Mulberry and Vivienne Westwood to the Magnolia Cup team.

This year’s beautiful designs have been curated by iconic fashion designer Roksanda Ilinčić.


The women set to contest the five-and-a-half-furlong race down Goodwood’s straight course include:

  • Rosie Brandreth-Poynter – Vet and Former Great British Bake-Off contestant
  • Hayley Edgar – Former General Manager at the Sussex Food Company
  • Janie Dear – Equestrian Enthusiast, Friend and Philantropist of The Brilliant Breakfast
  • Kate French – Gold Medal Winning Pentathlete
  • Annabel Neasham – Multiple Group 1 winning trainer, based in Sydney, Australia
  • Olivia Kimber – Dance Teacher and Multiple Sclerosis sufferer
  • O’Meara Rusike – Work Rider at Ralph Beckett’s yard
  • Fiona Litchfield – Royal Military Police, Soldier, Cyber Crime Expert and Operations Manager at the Met Police
  • Kim Parker – Freelance Lifestyle and Fashion Journalist
  • Sally Goldsmith – Director of BBA Shipping
  • Lucy Robinson – Influencer and Freelance Writer
  • Ashleigh Wicheard – Work Rider at Neil Mulholland Racing


All of the jockeys have their own stories to tell of their journey to take part in the Magnolia Cup. Two of the jockeys have already faced obstacles along the way that would have deterred lesser people.


Olivia Kimber will become the first known female jockey with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) to ride in a British horserace when she lines up for the Markel Magnolia Cup.

In October last year, following a prolonged period of numbness in her lower leg and issues with her peripheral vision, Kimber sought expert advice. Swiftly rushed to Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, for MRI scans, medical experts diagnosed her with a rare form of MS having detected four lesions on the brain.

A professional dance teacher from Portsmouth, Kimber commented: “My world came crashing down at 27 years of age with this diagnosis. It’s just rubbish. The doctors advised that, while re-lapses may be few and far between and that medication and research has come on tremendously, later on in life disabling factors are highly likely.

“Mentally, it’s one of the toughest things to overcome – I had some dark days, but I sought not to let this condition ruin things I wished to achieve.

“I applied for the Markel Magnolia Cup! I love horseracing, and without doubt Goodwood is one of my favourite racecourses. Born and bred in Portsmouth, I spent lots of time there as a child. It’s a dream come true to get the opportunity to ride there in July.”

All twelve riders taking part in this year’s race are required to pass a rigorous fitness assessment in May that mirrored that of a professional jockey. Eight exercises made-up of a four-minute plank, leg raises, three-minute ball squats, and a Watt bike challenge, to name a few, make this a true test of physical durability.

Kimber, who has been riding out for Eve Johnson Houghton, commented: “I have had a few wobbles with my strength, but each day I am learning so much about how much I can push my body. Riding a racehorse is a different ball game. Quick reactions both mentally and physically are so important when you are travelling at 20 miles an hour on an animal that weighs over half a ton.

“I know hundreds of thousands of people will be watching on Ladies Day at Glorious Goodwood, but in many ways, I don’t think that will bother me having pursued a career in the arts world. Win, lose or draw, if I can inspire one person with MS to do the smallest thing in taking back control of their lives, that would be the biggest achievement for me.”


O’Meara Rusike’s story will capture the hearts of many as she fulfils a long-held ambition to ride in the Magnolia Cup.

Born in Zimbabwe, where she first sat on a horse, she was adopted at the tender age of 12 after the sudden and sad passing of both her parents. Facing adversity beyond her years, her adopted family gave her ‘love she never had, a roof over her head and the security of stable upbringing.’

Following her school studies, she worked in a fuel station, and it was at this point that her adopted father discovered an advert in a local newspaper for a work rider at the Zimbabwe Jockey Academy – the rest was history – well, nearly.

Torrid financial times forced the academy to close, so Rusike, driven by the prospect of race riding, diverted her attentions to pursue a chance at the South African equivalent, but financial implications curtailed her dreams, halting her career.

Inspired by Michelle Payne, the first female rider to win the Melbourne Cup, nothing could stop her ambition; Rusike wanted to get in on her riding merits, so she spent time practicing and perfecting everything she had learned in just a couple of years.

Appealing for a family to take her in, in South Africa via Facebook, she packed her bags and endured a 24-hour bus journey – a complete step into the unknown.

Riding 20 horses a morning on the track, even the resolution Rusike had proved to this point dwindled and she questioned her aspirations and love for the sport, citing it as the ‘lowest point in her fledgling career.’

In 2019 the Markel Magnolia Cup captured the eyes of the world when Khadijah Mellah galloped to glory at Goodwood Racecourse. The 18-year-old Mellah won in spectacular style just months after sitting on a horse for the first time at the Ebony Horse Club, a club that aims to transform young lives through horses in south London’s most disadvantaged communities.

These headlines caught Rusike’s attention: “if she could do it, perhaps I could.”

Leaving South Africa, she went back to Zimbabwe, where she applied for work-rider jobs around the world. “Australia, America, and the UK, I sent out over 50 emails. I wasn’t prepared to give up. Two replied, Lanes End Farm in America and Ralph Beckett.”

Following her heart, she travelled to England in December 2021 to start work at Ralph Beckett’s Kimpton Down Stables near Andover, which is where she now works full time.

Rusike commented: “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. Strength comes from overcoming the things you thought you couldn’t.

“I have often felt homesick in the past, but I don’t here. I love learning, and I love the people around me, it’s the best feeling in the world.

“To be able to ride in the Markel Magnolia Cup during the flagship Qatar Goodwood Festival, is a dream come true. I am still pinching myself that this is real. Win, lose or draw, I just am incredibly excited to taking part.”

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