For the first time ever, ten of Britain’s most legendary jockeys will go head-to-head in the Olympia Grand Hall on the evening of Friday 15 December, for one of the all-time greatest jockey showdowns, as flat and jump jockeys compete on a level playing field. The competition will be part of Race Night at Olympia and will be hosted by renowned broadcaster, Clare Balding.
The most successful National Hunt jockey in history, AP McCoy, winner of 20 consecutive Championship titles and over 4,000 races, will be gunning for glory alongside his team of former racing stars. The line-up will include Richard Dunwoody, three-time Champion jockey with credits including two Grand National wins and four King George VI victories, two of which were aboard the illustrious Desert Orchid.
Eight-time Champion jockey Peter Scudamore and seven-time Champion jockey John Francome will be adding to the team’s long list of achievements, which between them includes 38 National Hunt Jockeys Championships. The final member of the team of Champions will be nine-time Irish Champion jockey, Charlie Swan, holder of the most winners ever ridden in an Irish race season, and three-time consecutive winner of the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham aboard the great Istabraq.
AP McCoy said:
‘I rode at Olympia in 2015 and it was great fun. Last year I had to watch the flat jockeys win so I decided to come back this year with the best possible team behind me and take the crown back for the jump jockeys!’
Representing the current generation of flat racing legends, Dettori and his teammates undoubtedly have the credentials to give McCoy’s gang a run for their money as they collide in the Markel Champions Challenge. The compelling line-up will consist of Ryan Moore, three-time Champion Jockey, with a history of achievements that have led to many hailing him as one of the world’s best flat jockeys. Moore will be accompanied by Richard Hughes, who after an extremely successful career, winning three Championship Series after over 25 years in the saddle, has channelled his knowledge to become a highly successful trainer.
Richard Hughes said:
‘It’s great to be involved in Olympia Horse Show and the Markel Champions Challenge. We will certainly be looking to set the pace against McCoy and his golden oldies! The event is also in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, a fantastic cause, and a great chance to raise awareness of the incredible work they do.’
Last season’s Champion jockey Jim Crowley will be adding to the team’s prestige, with a history of jump and flat racing which started in the Shetland Pony Grand National, Crowley is sure to bring a competitive-edge. Jamie Spencer, who in August of this year rode his 2,000th winner, one of only twenty-two jockeys to have reached this landmark, will be hoping to lead his team down the home straight as the final member of Dettori’s team.
Clare Balding, MBE, who will be joining the fun as commentator in the ring, said:
‘The Markel Champions Challenge at Olympia Horse Show is going to be particularly exciting this year, with so many highly-acclaimed jockeys competing under one roof. It’ll be a very special occasion, and I am thrilled to be involved. We know they can all jump at speed but let’s see which one can do that without sending poles flying.’
The Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, will take place on Friday 15 December as part of ‘Race Night’ at Olympia, an evening of race-themed entertainment, including the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National, in aid of the Bob Champion Cancer Trust.
More information about Olympia, The London International Horse Show, and how to secure your place at one of the equestrian performances of the year can be found online here.