Almost €4,000 raised in ‘The Great Race’ between Equine stalwarts

Two stalwarts of the Equestrian sector have raised €3,850 so far for frontline workers after they embarked on a unique race at two separate locations last Sunday.

Tony Ennis (AIRC chairman) and Faith Ponsonby (FEI Ground Jury official) who are both involved in many facets of equestrianism in Ireland challenged each other in ‘The Great Race’ over 5 kilometres at two separate locations due to the travel restrictions in place.

Both riders set off at the same time (11am) last Sunday morning with Faith taking to the roads around her home near Mullinahone, Co. Tipperary while Tony set off from his base in Cloghmoyle near Shinrone, Co. Offaly.

The local Gardai were out to support Tony as he set off in light blue and yellow star racing colours in Shinrone while neighbours were out to encourage Faith along the route who opted to ride side saddle in a habit which was almost 100 years old.

During the race, Tony also paid a visit to the residents and carers in Eagla Lodge Nursing Home, who are one of the beneficiaries. St James’ Hospital (Dublin), Tullamore Regional Hospital, Carlow Kilkenny Homecare Team and St Mary’s Nursing Home (Mullingar) were the other beneficiaries.

It was a close contest in the end with less than 90 seconds between the two with Faith Ponsonby taking the win in a time of 50 mins 23 seconds ahead of Tony Ennis on 51 minutes 45 seconds.

Tony Ennis on Uisneagh Camus at the finish line in Shinrone

Faith said afterwards, “Tony suggested that we do this race to raise funds as a thank you for our hard-working frontline teams at the moment. We’re overwhelmed with the response and very appreciative of the generous support we’ve received so far. Thanks to everyone who has contributed as it will help our dedicated and wonderful front line workers.”

“It was a pleasure to use our horses to help bring some joy to others as my coloured cob is safe and trustworthy while Tony’s TIH four-year-old was intrigued to see his reflection in the windows as he walked through the village,” she added.

Tony said, “It was great to have such support along the route and with the many donations we received. So far we’ve raised almost €4,000 which is way beyond our expectations as it was just for a bit of fun during this challenging time.”

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