Irish Guard and amateur jockey Lt Billy Aprahamian is hoping a repeat success in the second ever running of Wincanton Racecourse’s prestigious McCreery Military Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle (sponsored by John and Done Chatfeild-Roberts) on Sunday April 22 will help raise the profile of a huge charity fundraising event he is about to embark on with his brother Charlie.
The Aprahamians sister Harriet is mentally handicapped and lives at the Home Orchard Care Home for Adults with Learning Difficulties in Chudleigh, Devon.
On July 23rd the brothers will begin a mammoth 1000 mile bike ride, cycling 100 miles a day, from the northern tip of Lake Maggiore in Italy to Chudleigh to raise funds for a new sensory room at Home Orchard which is used for people with special needs when they find themselves overwhelmed and in need of a safe and distracting place to return to a state of calm.
Billy said: “Our much loved sister Harriet was born with an unknown learning disability which means she needs full time care. Six years ago mum found Home Orchard Care Home and this is now Harriet's favourite place in the world. It is a truly wonderful place and they take such good care of our sister and we felt it was time to give something back.”
The brothers are hoping to engage interest through their Facebook page by filming the excitement of a day at the races as Billy prepares to retain his crown. He is hoping to ride a horse trained by his friend Harry Whittington. “I’m very much looking forward to riding in the race. It was wonderful to win last year – my first winner under Rules. I was on Mighty Missile and his trainer Brian Barr was quietly confident before the race. We got headed between the last two fences and then we drew level and got up to win by a neck! Harry is a good friend and it will be great to ride for the team,” he said.
Earlier this year Billy landed Sandown Park’s Grand Military Gold Cup riding Baden for Nicky Henderson whom he regularly rides out for. “That horse is absolutely phenomenal,” he said, adding, “It was like cruising around in an arm chair he got into a rhythm and jumped beautifully.”
When he’s not riding and racing Billy is a machine gun platoon commander currently on ceremonial duty at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. In November the platoon will go to Kenya for special training ahead of service in Iraq in 2020.
The McCreery Military Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle(sponsored by John and Done Chatfeild-Roberts) takes place on Wincanton’s annual Family Fun Day when there will be host of free activities for children, special appearances by Peter Rabbit, horse racing, pony races and a mascot race. Gates open at 11.30am and two pre-booked tickets cost just £20.
To follow the Aprahamians journey go to @HomewardBoundForHarriet on Facebook. For more information about Family Fun Day visit www.wincanton-racecourse.co.uk.