Olympia, The London International Horse Show will be returning this December (17-23), with the thrilling ‘Race Night’ taking centre stage on the Friday. The Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, and the main feature of the evening, is a relay Show Jumping competition which will see Bridget Andrews captain a team of leading female jockeys, as they take on AP McCoy and his team of boys.
Determined to bring home the victory for the girls, Andrews and her teammates attended a Show Jumping lesson taught by equestrian legends, and team coaches, Pippa and William Funnell. The renowned equestrian power-couple brought their years of success and knowledge to the girls’ team in a bid to ensure the ladies are crowned victorious in the annual relay Show Jumping competition.
Bridget Andrews, who recorded her first Cheltenham Festival winner in 2018, taking her place as one of the best female jockeys in the UK, has a star-studded team of talent behind her. Her teammates include fellow jockeys, Bryony Frost, Lizzie Kelly, Hollie Doyle, and Josephine Gordon – who have all individually made their mark in the professional racing world.
Tipped to become the greatest ever female jockey, Frost made her Grand National debut in 2018 finishing in fifth place, while in 2016 Kelly became the first female jockey in 33 years to compete in the pinnacle of national hunt racing, the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Doyle beat some of the world’s best flat jockeys, including Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore, to win the biggest race of her career at Newmarket Racecourse in 2016. Gordon, who in 2016 became only the third ever female to win the British flat racing Champion Apprentice title, will be sure to bring her need for speed to the Olympia Grand Hall.
Pippa and William Funnell’s insight will no doubt add a competitive edge to the team of ladies. Teaching the tricks of the trade to enhance accuracy and speed, their instructions could shave valuable seconds off their times, and make the difference between winning or losing.
Speaking on her team’s training experience with the Funnells, Andrews commented: “The training with Pippa and William has been lots of fun – they’re heroes of mine and we couldn’t have asked for better coaches. I can’t wait for ‘Race Night’ – the atmosphere is going to be electric, and I just hope we can make Pippa and William proud!”
Pippa Funnell said: “They’re obviously all incredibly talented in their own right, and I’ve been very impressed with how quickly they have adapted and improved throughout the day. The girls have mastered the technical side and we’ve almost managed to perfect their jump-off style, so I really fancy their chances against AP McCoy and the boys!”
Juliet Redfern, head of Equine Insurance at Markel, said: “This seems to get more and more fun every year! The Funnells were so brilliant and thorough with the girls, and the whole team at Markel can’t wait to see them in action on the night.”
For more information on how to purchase tickets, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0844 995 0995.