Champion colours will race again
THE racing colours of a retired champion racehorse are to be seen again - in a charity marathon run.Stable lass Gemma Halliwell is swapping her riding boots for running shoes and donning the colours of Falbrav, last year's inaugural BHB middle distance champion who retired to stud after winning the Hong Kong Cup in December.
THE racing colours of a retired champion racehorse are to be seen again - in a charity marathon run.
Stable lass Gemma Halliwell is swapping her riding boots for running shoes and donning the colours of Falbrav, last year's inaugural BHB middle distance champion who retired to stud after winning the Hong Kong Cup in December.
Gemma, 22, who works for Falbrav's trainer Luca Cumani at his Newmarket yard, is running the London Marathon to raise funds for the Meningitis Research Foundation in order to help fight the disease which almost claimed her life.
On her 18th birthday Gemma was struck down by a severe headache, which was initially diagnosed as flu, but turned out to be a potentially fatal strain of meningitis and the related blood disease septicaemia.
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She said: “All I now is if my mother hadn't called the emergency doctor and they hadn't treated me straight away I could have died.
“I wanted to do something for the foundation because I was lucky in some respects because I was a healthy teenager, but in babies and young children the disease can be a killer.”
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Gemma said she has had tremendous support from Mr Cumani and his wife Sarah, who have not only allowed her to bring the colours Falbrav wore to victory in five group one races out of retirement, but they have also helped with her training and sponsorship.
She said: “They have both been really helpful and have written to the owners for sponsorship money and Luca's even given me some tips about training.”
Falbrav was described by Mr Cumani as the “best horse anywhere in the world” and included the Juddmonte and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes among his victories last year, but this is the first time the colours have been carried over quite such a distance.
Gemma has no intention of attempting to mimic Falbrav's speed and hopes to complete the run, which takes place on April 18, in under five hours.