A look ahead to the Countryside Day at Aintree

The Lamb National

The Lamb National - Credit: Archant

This month sees one of the countryside events of the year with a day of racing and great fun.

The Countryside Day

The Countryside Day - Credit: Archant

The Countryside Day at the Aintree course has become a firm fixture in the North West, offering a wonderful blend of all things country, a race meeting and a charity fundraiser in one go. It will be a great day out for the family with the chance to do some pre-Christmas shopping.

One of the highlights of the October 23 event is the charity race which features seven amateur riders, several locally based. They will be joined by Ryan Mania who won the Grand National at Aintree on his first attempt in 2013 aged just 23. The riders have been training since the beginning of the year, some losing a stone or more to make the race.

To add to the challenge they are on horses loaned to them by some of our best known trainers and, to make it even harder, they’ve just completed a gruelling fitness test at Doncaster Racing School. Ryan is joined by Polly Portwin, hunting editor of Horse & Hound, and Molly Dingwall, Aintree’s business development executive. She won the Jockey Club Challenge at Warwick in May.

Other riders include Charles Clark, master of the Holderness Hunt, David Redvers the famous bloodstock agent whose clients include the Qatari Royal family, Oliver Dale master of the Ludlow Hunt, David O’Brien of the Cheshire Hunt and Richard Tyacke Master of the Wynnstay.

The Countryside Day

The Countryside Day - Credit: Archant

‘Everyone initially thinks this will be a bit of fun and who else ever gets to ride around the Aintree course?’ said Sara Rutherford of the Countryside Alliance. ‘Riding is second nature to these huntsmen and masters. However, the reality is that riding a race horse requires nerves of steel for even the most seasoned rider.’ Each rider will be raising money for Fishing 4 Schools and Casting for Recovery, two of The Countryside Alliance Foundation’s key projects. Last year the riders raised over £26,000.

Organiser Paul Dunn said: ‘This is going to be a great day out for racing and the countryside enthusiast alike. We are grateful to the riders who will try their hand at race riding to raise money for these great charities.’

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For the seasoned race goer there is a full race card including The Old Roan Chase, when professional jockeys will be back in the saddle.

Other distractions on the day include the Quack Pack duck herding display team, a thrilling display of falconry with Bob Edwards. For those who want to show off their shooting skills or try their hand for the first time there is Clay Laser shooting, fly casting and pony rides.

One not to be missed will be the unique annual ‘Ram National’ sheep race. For those dressing for the occasion, Fairfax and Favor, the luxury British footwear retailer, will donate £200 of vouchers to the best dressed man and women. There will also be around 20 stands with some outstanding retailers.

Countryside Alliance Hospitality Tickets are £60 and include entry, race card, entry to the Sunloch Suite for the day, champagne reception with the amateur riders, two-course lunch and an outstanding live and silent auction with some wonderful lots. The highlight of the day will be the live auction of a chance of a lifetime ‘ride of your life’ with Sam Waley-Cohen and Long Run round The Grand National course.

Join the fun

General Entry Tickets: £22.50 in advance, or £25 on the day (free entry for children under 17 with each paying adult). Family Tickets: £38 for two adults and two children under 17. To book: call 03445793001 or www.aintree.thejockeyclub.co.uk.

Countryside Alliance Hospitality Tickets Contact: 0207 8409207 or tickets@countryside-alliance.org.