The National Hunt Chase on the opening day of The Festival™ at Cheltenham (Tuesday 15th March) will be run as The Ukraine Appeal National Hunt Chase this year.
The Jockey Club, which runs Cheltenham Racecourse, is supporting the charitable efforts of The British Red Cross in its response to the humanitarian crisis arising from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and is making a donation of its own to the Red Cross’s Ukraine Appeal.
The British Red Cross is fundraising to support people impacted and displaced by the invasion with necessities including food, water, first aid, medicines, warm clothes and shelter. The Ukrainian and international arms of the Red Cross are delivering this support on the ground in the Eastern European country.
Ian Renton, Managing Director for Cheltenham Racecourse and The Jockey Club’s West Region, said:
“The Festival is a major social highlight for a very large number of the racegoers in attendance, probably even more so this year given the 2021 Festival was held behind closed doors.
“However, this year’s event is obviously taking place against the backdrop of major conflict in Ukraine. Given that coverage of The Festival extends far beyond the coverage racing receives on a day to day basis, we are keen to hand as much exposure to the invaluable work undertaken by humanitarian charities in these most desperate times. Therefore, using a race title to promote these humanitarian efforts seemed a very appropriate act for us to undertake.
“The Jockey Club is supporting the British Red Cross’s appeal by making a donation and we will also be communicating on our big screens, in racecards and over our PA systems to invite racegoers at all of our venues to make a donation themselves, should they wish, and explain how they can do so.
“Racing has a tremendous record when it comes to fundraising and coming together in times when need is most keenly felt and we are aiming to help the Red Cross Ukraine Appeal as much as possible over the four days of The Festival.”
To donate to the British Red Cross’s appeal, please go to: https://donate.redcross.org.uk/appeal/ukraine-crisis-appeal
The Ukraine Appeal National Hunt Chase is a Grade Two race and the oldest staged at The Festival. Run over a distance of three miles and six furlongs and the last race taking place on Day One, the most prominent winner in recent years was Tiger Roll in 2017, who went on to win the Randox Grand National at Aintree in 2018 and 2019.
The Jockey Club announced last month that WellChild - the national charity for seriously ill children and headquartered in Cheltenham - will again be the official charity partner of The Festival™ at Cheltenham in 2022. The partnership at the event began in 2021 when it was held behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.