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No one is more passionate about horseracing than Kian Burley.

The nine-year-old was diagnosed with cerebral palsy on his first birthday, but that doesn’t stop him travelling around the UK to see his favourite horses and jockeys in action.


Just days before The Festival™ presented by Magners began, The Jockey Club gave him the surprise of his life by taking his favourite jockey, Paddy Brennan, and the original Cheltenham Gold Cup into his school assembly in Doncaster. Kian, his mum Hannah and grandparents Tina and Dave were also invited to Day One of Jump racing’s ‘Olympics’ as our guests.

On the day itself Kian met and posed for photographs with some of the sport’s biggest stars including trainers Gordon Elliott and Colin Tizzard, jockeys Robbie Power, Barry Geraghty and Davy Russell and TV presenters Ruby Walsh, Ed Chamberlin and Oli Bell.


The cheeky youngster even asked Elliott: “Can you let Paddy ride Tiger Roll in the Grand National instead of Davy Russell?!”


Kian’s day finished in the parade ring, meeting up with Brennan and his favourite trainer, Fergal O’Brien. He said: “I’ve been to Cheltenham before but not for The Festival. It was amazing. I’d been looking forward to all of it and I can’t wait to tell all my friends at home.”


Brennan added: “Kian’s probably the bravest racegoer you could imagine. It could be snowing and he’s just sat out there waiting for me to come out of the weighing room, no matter what the temperature is. Some things in life you can ignore, some things in life you walk past, but you definitely don’t walk past Kian. It’s great to see his enthusiasm. He loves racing and loves the buzz of going racing. We could do with a few more Kians!”


We filmed Kian’s big day for our social media channels and to be shown on big screens around Cheltenham Racecourse throughout The Festival. You can watch what happened here.


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