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Fermoy man, James Fenton, has been chosen to take part in the St Patrick's Day Derby at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival in March.
James, who is a garda attached to the detective unit at Dungarvan garda station, comes from a large family of racing enthusiasts. His uncle is trainer David Fenton, who has enjoyed recent success with Avondhu Lady. His parents Bernard and Elizabeth also live in Fermoy.
James was among over 100 applicants chosen as one of the final twelve, in an event which is a fundraiser for Cancer Research UK. Others who made the list are three more Irish riders and TV presenters from Sky television.
"Cancer Research UK is obviously UK based and does tremendous work worldwide as cancer has no boundaries," James comments, explaining that he is taking part in memory of his wife Joanne's aunt, Eryl Connolly, from the UK, who passed away from the disease in 2011.
The race is for 4-year-old horses and updwards. They'll race over 1m 5f on March 14 in the seventh race of the festival. A crowd of up to 60,000 will be in attendance with television coverage attracting over a million viewers worldwide.
STUFF OF DREAMS
"I'll be proud to take part on this big stage, the highlight of the horse racing year in the world of national hunt racing, for my family and friends and also as a member of An Garda Siochana," James told The Avondhu this week.
While he did a bit of hunting when he was young and has done some riding for Dungarvan trainer, John Kiely and with his uncle David Fenton, he's never before done anything at the level of the Cheltenham race. He says it was 'a childhood dream to race on a track like Cheltenham.'
James is on a strict training programme and diet for the event which he says 'is going great.' He's using the facilities of B2A in Glanworth to help with his training. Each rider must raise a minimum of £5,000 to take part. James has already launched his fundraising drive.
"I know we are in recessionary times but, for instance, if I got as much as a couple of euro donation from people I'd be very happy," he said.
People can make a secure donation by clicking on James' page at the link www.justgiving.com and then typing the name James B under the 'sponsor a friend' heading. Best of luck James!