Cheltenham will honour the late Lorna Brooke at tomorrow’s Race Night featuring Hunter Chase Racing, with the penultimate race on the seven-race card at 7.45pm to be run as the Lorna Brooke Open Hunters’ Chase.
Lorna tragically passed away aged 37 on April 19th as the result of a spinal injury sustained at Taunton Racecourse on April 8th when she fell from her mount Orchestrated, owned and trained by her mother Lady Susan Brooke.
One trainer with a runner in the Lorna Brooke Open Hunters’ Chase, which is staged over an extended four miles, is Philip Rowley who saddles Optimised, the runner-up in 2019.
Paying tribute Shropshire-based Rowley said: “Lorna was a dear friend and rode for me on many occasions.
“I will always be thankful to her for providing me with my first winner under Rules, which was The General Lee in the Chase Meredith Memorial Trophy at Ludlow (in March 2011).
“Lorna rode The General Lee again at Cheltenham at this fixture and they were unlucky not to win as our horse led over the last before trying to go out for another circuit. Lorna managed to get the horse going again and in the end we only went down by three quarters of a length.
“It is just all so, so sad. I would like to thank Cheltenham Racecourse for naming tomorrow’s race in Lorna’s honour – it’s a very touching tribute.”
Ian Renton, regional managing director of The Jockey Club, added: “Tomorrow’s Race Night is the one fixture of the year at Cheltenham purely for amateur riders and it only seemed right to honour Lorna in this way.
“It is sure to be a very emotional occasion as Lorna was such a popular figure and everyone at the racecourse will be united in her memory.”
A celebration of Lorna’s life will also be held on Monday 24th May at Ludlow Racecourse, by kind permission of the directors. It is hoped that COVID-19 restrictions will allow Lorna’s many friends and colleagues from within racing to attend. Anyone wishing to attend should contact Ludlow Racecourse in advance by calling 01584 856221 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The thoughts of everyone at The Jockey Club and Cheltenham Racecourse are with Lorna’s family, friends and weighing room colleagues.