One of the highlights of the Qatar Goodwood Festival is Ladies’ Day, celebrated on the Thursday of raceweek each year and, since 2011, has commenced with the charity race, the Magnolia Cup.
The Magnolia Cup’s key objective is to raise as much money as possible for female-focused charities and, in doing so, help raise their profile.
Through a mixture of sponsorship, tickets sales from the Regency Ball, held in Goodwood House on the evening of Wednesday 27th July, private donations and betting initiatives, the Magnolia Cup has raised over £1 million for charity during the last five years.
By far and away, the biggest and most important contribution comes from the women themselves and their sponsors. The brave amateur jockeys train tirelessly for months leading up to the race, undertaking everything from early morning riding sessions to intensive fitness programmes and jockey training classes.
Each rider must pass British Horseracing Authority assessment before being permitted to ride in the race, run over the slightly shorter distance of five and a half furlongs this year at 1.25pm, in front of the big Ladies’ Day crowd at Goodwood.
This year sees a new element introduced, with Hayley Turner, the most successful female jockey in British racing history, taking up the role as ambassador for the Magnolia Cup.
Turner, who retired at the end of the 2015 season, will be providing the riders with guidance and support along their journey to ride in the charity race.
The 33-year-old, who excelled around Goodwood and won one of Britain’s most valuable mile handicaps during the Qatar Goodwood Festival, the Betfred Mile on Boom and Bust in 2011, hopes to give the jockeys confidence ahead of the contest.
She said: “There can be no greater thrill than riding at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
“Goodwood is one of the most unique and beautiful racecourses in the world.
“The riders have been training hard already and I’m looking forward to helping them in any way I can.”
The riders are due to be:
Designer for Harpers Bazaar and Town & Country magazines. This will be Alby’s first ride in the Magnolia Cup and her previous experience of riding is limited to working with ponies and riding weekly in her younger days.
BBC South weather presenter and senior broadcast journalist. Alexis takes a ride in the race for the fourth time in 2016 and has been riding since she was six.
Supplements editor at Spectator magazine. Camilla is making her Magnolia Cup debut, but rode in the 1,000km Mongol Derby in 2010. She also has her own horses and plays polo.
COO, Bank of England. Charlotte has competed in dressage and eventing but is taking part in her first race in this year’s Magnolia Cup.
CEO, TalkTalk. Dido is the race’s most experienced rider, having ridden in every Magnolia Cup except the 2014 renewal. She finished second last year and would dearly love to go one better this year.
Creative director and founder of Emily-London milliners. Emily has created hats for the Royal family from her London boutique and will compete in the Magnolia Cup for the second time in 2016.
Bloodstock Underwriter at BRIT Insurance. Emma is an accomplished rider but has only very limited experience of riding racehorses. This will be her first race ride.
Freelance journalist who writes for the London Evening Standard and other London glossies. Georgie describes herself as a ‘confident intermediate’ rider, having returned to riding four years ago to compete and take her BHS Stage 2. This is her debut in the race.
Group marketing and creative director, Harvey Nichols. Shadi only started riding in August 2014 but has been making great strides since competing in the race last year. She was part of the team who relaunched the Millenium Dome to become the O2 Arena.
Businesswoman and entrepreneur. Tamara has spent much time with horses and is a competent rider, but riding racehorses has been a new experience since beginning training for her inaugural Magnolia Cup this year.
Interiors and lifestyle editor, Sunday Express S magazine. Victoria was completely new to the sport of racing when taking part in the Magnolia Cup for the first time last year, but looks to build on that experience for 2016.
They are being sponsored by the following:
- Andy Stewart
- Bowers & Wilkins
- BRIT Insurance
- Palmer & Harvey
- RH Management Ltd
In addition to the jockeys, a collection of the most celebrated and prestigious female fashion designers dedicate their time and skills to creating bespoke silks for each of the riders. These designers not only produce the eye-catching silks, but actively support the campaign in the press and media before and after the event.
The following will be among the designers involved in 2016:
- Amanda Wakeley
- Kate Halfpenny
- Vivienne Westwood
- Jasmine Guinness
- Featherstone Frocks
The 2016 race will benefit two wonderful charities, Best Beginnings and World Vision.
Best Beginnings is working to give every child in the UK from any background the best possible start in life, by developing practical, simple, educational and interactive tools to support parents-to-be and new parents. World Vision’s Girls Education Challenge is breaking down the barriers to girls’ education in Zimbabwe, empowering and investing in women to make attending schools and learning more accessible.
In previous years, the welcome sums raised through this initiative have been donated to charities such as Great Ormond Street Hospital, Winston’s Wish, the Haven Breast Cancer Support, Spinal Research and Best Beginnings.
This year, the Magnolia Cup riders have been followed by Goodwood’s cameras and the resulting films provide an insight into the incredible efforts that they have been putting in to ride in the race. From the early mornings on the gallops, to the gruelling assessment days at the British Racing School, the films give light to their remarkable journeys. The films can be viewed at www.goodwood.com/magnoliacup.
HUGOS Restaurant Barbados becomes headline sponsor of Magnolia Cup
The sixth running of the Magnolia Cup on Thursday 28 July is being generously sponsored by HUGOS Restaurant, Barbados. The charity race, which this year is supporting Best Beginnings and World Vision, is for lady riders for whom race riding is not a regular occurrence.
Women from business, such as Bank of England COO Charlotte Hogg and TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding, fashion and media, such as milliner Emily Baxendale, the Spectator’s Camilla Swift and S Magazine’s Victoria Gray, will race over the unique 5.5 furlong course at Goodwood. They will wear bespoke silks created by high-profile designers such as Vivienne Westwood, ME+EM, Liberty and Amanda Wakeley.
HUGOS Restaurant Barbados is soon to be opened and will be the Caribbean’s number one restaurant, housing historic items from the Ivy restaurant in London and the late Lord Glenconner’s home in Mustique. The restaurant takes its name from Hugo, the grandson of Andy Stewart, who has been a supporter of the Magnolia Cup for a number of years and whose ASCF charitable foundation is also sponsoring one of the horses running in the race.