WILTSHIRE racing trainer Jim Old has now raised almost £450,000 for charity after 200 golfers defied the worst weather conditions ever experienced at his annual golf day attended once more by a host of celebrities from the racing world at Marlborough Golf Club on Monday, writes PETER GODSIFF.
The aftermath of Hurricane Bertha flooded the course but the golfers, who travelled from across the country, battled on under a colourful array of umbrellas, swathed in waterproof clothing, refused to capitulate.
“This is my 24th golf day and we have never experienced conditions like this before,” said Marlborough member Old, who trained at Upper Herdswick Farm, Barbury Castle, until last month.
“It’s hard work and would not be possible without my loyal group of helpers, mainly from the golf club, my family members and the racing fraternity as a whole.”
Entry fees plus proceeds of a tombola, auction and putting competition, guarantee between £17,000 to £20,000 for the Injured Jockeys Fund this year.
Lady Oaksey, whose late husband Lord John Oaksey was founder and past president of the Injured Jockeys Fund, added: “Jim has been a fantastic supporter of our very worthwhile charity for many years and we are always indebted to him for what he does at his very successful golf day.”
Because of the weather the day was divided into two competitions for the teams of four that included trainers, owners, bookmakers, administrators and supporters, who competed for prizes donated by more than 30 golf clubs from around the country.
Former jockey Peter Hobbs from Lambourn, playing with leading sport psychologist Michael Caulfield, the former CEO of the Professional Jockeys Association, and two of Old’s former jockeys Tom Grantham and Simon McNeill, won with 88 points the morning.
They beat breeder Paul Thurman, Charlie Vigors, Charlie Hills and Colin Tinkler, who were third last year, on countback.
Lambourn trainer Warren Greatrex with Richard Gurney, Chris Sutton and Lee Bolingbroke, won the afternoon with 87 points. They beat jockeys Mark Grant and David Crosse, playing with Ollie Kozak and Simon Beccie, on countback.
The Jim Old Charity Golf Day, the racing fraternity's biggest annual golf tournament, started at Bristol course Tracy Park before it moved to St Mellion and Wrag Barn before switching permanently to Marlborough.
Marlborough general manager Les Trute said: "This was probably the toughest day we have experienced because of the weather, but it was a tribute to everyone that we were able to get everyone round.’’