Cancer fight sparks soldier’s racing test

Ben Moore, who is riding a charity flat race, with daughter Grace and her pony Bella EMN-171004-132406001
Ben Moore, who is riding a charity flat race, with daughter Grace and her pony Bella EMN-171004-132406001
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A 10-year-old girl’s battle with leukaemia has inspired her dad to ride in a high profile horse race in aid of cancer charities.

Ben Moore, a riding instructor at Melton’s Defence Animal Centre (DAC), will take on a field including equestrian greats Mark Todd and Tina Cook at Cheltenham on April 20.

Ben and wife Trish, who live in Melton, were devastated six months ago when daughter Grace was diagnosed with leukaemia.

She is going through chemotherapy treatment at present and has been wheelchair-bound.

Ben, who has beaten cancer twice himself, decided to enter the race to give something back for other families affected by the disease and because his daughter is a keen pony rider.

“It’s been very, very tough for us since the diagnosis and there have been a few tears shed,” said Ben (39).

“Grace has started feeling a little better and has gone back to school for a few hours a day and even managed a little ride on her pony.

“When I saw this race advertised I asked her if she thought I should apply to take part.

“She was excited when I got the news that I had got in.

“I think she thinks her daddy is going to win but she’s also worried daddy might fall off.”

Ben actually started out a racehorse jockey, riding for the respected trainer Martin Pipe before he joined the army.

He has also taken part in the two biggest horse races open to members of the armed forces, the Grand Military Gold Cup and the Royal Artillery Gold Cup at Sandown Park.

He will be riding a horse from the stable of David Pipe, Martin’s son, and is confident about his chances.

“I have ridden in the past but not for a long time, so this is going to be a challenge, said Ben.

“I’ve got a chance of winning, though, with one of David’s horses.”

A big crowd is expected for the race including Trish (43) and Grace, a pupil at Ab Kettleby School, if she is well enough.

Proceeds will go to the Bob Champion Cancer Trust and Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony charity.

Ben has already received pledges of more than £3,000 but wants to raise even more.

Go online at www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving to sponsor him.