Wincanton Racecourse has announced that the prize fund from the race that was abandoned last month will be donated to Wiltshire Air Ambulance in support of jockey Major Charlie O’Shea – who suffered serious injuries in a race earlier on the card.
The final race, the Visit Irish Store Sale With ITM Open National Hunt Flat Race, was abandoned while O’Shea received treatment on the track and while he has suffered serious chest injuries, it is hoped he will make a full recovery.
And in recognition of the expert care that O’Shea received that day, The Jockey Club has announced that the £3,500 in prize money for that cancelled contest has been donated to the service.
O’Shea has now been released from Bristol Southmead Hospital and is now recovering at home and he revealed that he is hopeful of returning to the saddle in the future.
He said: “I am truly grateful for the actions of both of the crews on the 10th April at Wincanton that certainly helped to save my life.
“I am very pleased to report that due to the actions of so many on that day, at the course and in the ICU at Bristol Southmead, that the injuries that I suffered will all recover in time as before. I am now home and my rehab is progressing well and I hope in time to return to racing.
“It’s fantastic that the prize money from the abandoned race has been donated to such a worthy cause and all the thanks must go to Wincanton for putting that gesture together. Once again, thanks must go to the Air Ambulance for all of your efforts on that day and every day that you are called out to help save lives!”
Jack Parkinson, General Manager of Wincanton Racecourse, commented: “I am thrilled that we have been able to make a substantial donation to Wiltshire Air Ambulance, who very much came to our assistance in Charlie’s hour of need.
“The incident was a very serious one and unfortunately Charlie was very badly hurt, but the medical staff showed the utmost of professionalism and it was their acts that ensured that Charlie is well on the road to recovery.
“Donating the prize money is the least we could do as a measure of our gratitude and we hope that it can help to save other lives in the future. It is great to hear that Charlie is on the mend and we’re looking forward to welcoming him back to a race day in the future.”
Wiltshire Air Ambulance Senior Community Engagement manager, Cas Loudon, said: “We are pleased to hear that Charlie is making positive steps in his recovery.
“Wiltshire Air Ambulance is a charity which needs to raise £4 million each year to continue flying and saving lives and we have to do it without Government funding or National Lottery grants, so we are very grateful for this donation from Wincanton Racecourse.”