Star male jockeys v women at Olympia tonight

Star jockeys from the Flat and jumps will be showing their skills at showjumping today when Olympia hosts its annual Champions Challenge as part of the London International Horse Show, with a male team taking on female riders.

The event, sponsored by Markel Corporation, will have a team relay format and raise money for the Injured Jockeys Fund.

This year’s competition sees Sir Tony McCoy and Bridget Andrews heading the two teams where women jockeys take on their male counterparts.

The female team includes Flat riders Josephine Gordon and Hollie Doyle, alongside Grade 1-winning jumps jockeys Bryony Frost and Lizzie Kelly.

Successful female jockey Lizzie Kelly will be competing Photo : Gerry Cranham

Bridget Andrews said of her team, who prepared for the event with professional showjumpers William and Pippa Funnell: “The training was lots of fun – they’re heroes of mine and we couldn’t have asked for better coaches.  I just hope we do well and make them proud.”

Lizzie Kelly added: ” I’ve never done anything of that level for showjumping so I’m really excited. I’ve been doing some practice at home and in the arena ahead of it. We’ve got a good team and we will try to be a bit more tactical and strategic than the boys.. It will be good fun.”

McCoy’s team features top Flat riders Ryan Moore and Jim Crowley, who are joined by this season’s two top jump jockeys, Richard Johnson and Harry Skelton.

The team has been coached by Harry’s father Nick Skelton, who won Olympic showjumping gold in Rio two years ago. McCoy, who is making his third appearance at the event, said: “The Markel Champions Challenge is such a crowd-pleaser and we all love it. I thought I would retire after last year’s win but my kids had other ideas so I’ll be back to beat the girls and claim another win.”

The event starts at 6.45pm and can be followed live on the BBC red button.


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