Joy all round as Bob ends charity ride


Traffic 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.

Champion 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.

ANYONE 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)