Retired Cheltenham hero Smad Place “helped” Grand National-winning jockey Rachael Blackmore, Cheltenham Festival ambassador Barry Geraghty and ITV Racing presenter Ed Chamberlain to open the WellChild Walkway at the exit to the paddock today, Day One of The Festival™ in 2022.
WellChild is the official charity partner of The Festival and has appointed Smad Place as its first equine ambassador to represent the Cheltenham-based national charity for seriously ill children in its work with The Festival and The Jockey Club.
Smad Place, now 15, won the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in 2016. The grey is owned by Trish and Peter Andrews, and is spending a happy retirement with Sarah Haydon, who says he is her family’s pet.
WellChild chief executive Colin Dyer expressed his thanks to the racing world for their support of the charity, saying: “We are hugely grateful to everyone in racing from the owners, trainers and jockeys through to the racing fans for the support they are giving to seriously ill children and their families all across the UK.
“Covid was really tough for every charity. Bizarrely, now it is harder - the families we care for were more affected than anyone else. Every penny anyone can donate really helps. The work we do makes an enormous difference; there are hundreds of thousands of families round the UK that need our help. We raised over £300,000 last year at The Festival, and with everyone back here this year, I hope we can beat that.”