stopped in Central London yesterday as Bob Champion, reunited with his
old sparring partner Aldaniti, made his way to Buckingham Palace to be
greeted by the Queen at the end of his 'Ride for Life' in aid of cancer
charities, writes Nicholas Godfrey.
Champion, who partnered
Aldaniti to a famous Grand National victory in 1981 after making a full
recovery from cancer, arrived at Buckingham Palace after covering 600
miles on horseback in three weeks since leaving the Palace of Holyrood
House in Edinburgh three weeks ago.
He enjoyed a mounted police
escort through the West End as he completed the journey, accompanied by
another Aintree hero in Mr Frisk, ridden as usual by Tracey Bailey.
Also in attendance were leading polo players the Grace sisters.
Champion was preceded by a Scottish piper as he made his way down the
Mall, having already visited Regent's Park, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly
Circus and Trafalgar Square.
"I never, ever imagined I'd be
riding through Oxford Circus and Regent Street on a horse," said
Champion. "It has been a terrific way to finish and the horse has just
been so placid, like he always was."
Sporting the Embiricoe's
colours in which he took the National, Champion was relieved to have
finished his epic trip. We've done around 30 miles a day, up and down
mountains, so it has been quite tough," he explained.
set himself the target of raising £1 Million for a new laboratory for
30 scientists at the Royal Marsden Hospital, where he was treated
himself. "If we make the £1 million, then the Cancer Institute have
promised to add another million," he said.
Mr Frisk, seldom the
most placid of characters in his racing days, kept his cool admirably.
'He was whirling about a bit in the Mall, but he's been brilliant
really," said Tracey Bailey. 'And this is just a mindblowing experience.
wishing to make a donation to the Ride for Life should send a cheque
(payable to Ride for Life) to 6 Old Garden House, The Lanterns, Bridge
Lane, London SW11 3AD
Racing Post (6th August 1996)