Cheltenham Thursday - ROA Owner of the Day
ROA Owner of the Day: Racing for Maggie’s Partnership
To highlight the support owners have shown to racing the ROA is focusing on raising the owners profile throughout Cheltenham and beyond, especially as owners won’t be able to be at the Festival this year. The ROA Owner of the Day is an opportunity for the ownership story to be shared.
Today’s (Thursday 18th March) ROA Owner of the Day is Racing for Maggie’s Partnership whose Another Venture runs in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup (4.50 pm).
The syndicate is run by manager Henry Kimbell, who set up Racing for Maggie’s Partnership after working in the charity sector for nearly a decade. He knew Another Venture’s trainer Kim Bailey while growing up, as his family had shares in horses with the trainer in the mid 1990s, including Top Brass who won at Cheltenham’s January meeting. Kimbell loved his racing and kept in touch as a teenager and followed the Bailey’s progress.
Having started work in the charity sector, Kimbell always felt there was an opportunity to combine fundraising with racing. In 2012 while working for Kidney Research UK he discussed forming a charity syndicate with Bailey.
Richard Pitman was in the racing headlines at the time for being a kidney donor whilst Kimbell was having treatment for kidney failure. He had undergone a kidney transplant the previous year and consequently saw an opportunity to raise awareness.
Bailey, Pitman and Kimbell collaborated to launch a charity syndicate for Kidney Research UK. The plan was that owners made a donation and their branding appeared on the racing silks, with a share in any prize-money paid to the charity. The horses weren’t headline makers, but they managed to enjoy a win at Southwell.
The venture started a great partnership with Bailey, and provided a foundation for their charity racing syndicate model.
Kimbell had experience in racing and knew what he wanted to achieve. He had a vision to create racing experiences as a way of raising funds and awareness for charity’s to use as a springboard to acknowledge donors, which is an important part of the relationship management.
Last year, he decided to finish working in the charity sector to set up his own company called Galloping To Give. It’s focus is partnering with businesses and non racing related charities to use packages, such as a tutored raceday experiences, as an innovative business development and client/donor retention tool.
Returning to the origins of the Racing for Maggie’s Partnership Kimbell explained: “The syndicate for Maggie’s kicked off in 2016 with 23 members who kindly made a donation of £250 per share. That brought in over £6,000 before we started and the charity benefits from 20% of any prize-money. Fortunately, Another Venture hasn’t read the script - every season bar one he’s won! One year alone he earned £40K in prize-money. This enabled us to make a final contribution of £25,000 to the Cheltenham Centre - more than double our target.”
He acknowledged: “I’m still learning the whole time. With Cheltenham, so much goes into that one day in the sun. From the trainer, their assistant, all the staff involved in the yard, the jockey, luck in running, ground conditions. So many people don’t understand that.“
He was quick to credit the support of Bailey through his ownership experience: “I’ve learnt so much from Kim over the years, working with him, working with his team and his approach to ownership. He has a vested interest in ownership and is always looking at new and innovative ways to bring new owners to the yard and that’s so helpful.”
Maggie’s charity provides free cancer support and information in 27 centres across the UK. The centre closest to Bailey’s yard is in Cheltenham. Support is offered across a broad range, from symptoms and side effects to practical matters and managing emotions. Maggie’s support can be accessed by patients and their families.
The syndicate doesn’t ask for any financial outlay from the charity, but they ask for some of the fundraising board members time in raising it’s profile across the Maggie’s networks.
Kimbell was himself diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last November. He started chemotherapy at the beginning of December. He mused: “Having set up a cancer charity, here I am in a situation where the benefiting charity is also helping me. I went to Maggie’s for some psychological support. It’s helpful to feel there’s a bolthole, to go and have a cup of tea and talk to someone. ”
When his initial appointment was booked, Another Venture was running at Ludlow. It seemed both ironic and extraordinary when he won. After the race Kim called me and said: “I hope that makes you feel better!”
Kimbell is receiving treatment every other week. Fortunately Cheltenham falls during a week off.
His experience has spurred him on to do more. He said: “The one thing I’d like to come out of this is to say that if you do notice anything at all, see your doctor, get it checked. It is a misconception that chemotherapy makes everyone feel ill. I feel a bit tired and a bit nauseous at times but am working and looking after my two daughters. Treatment has come a long way. I look forward to recovering and moving on with my life but it’s good to know Maggie’s is there if I or my family need some help at any time in the future.“
A referral isn’t needed to access Maggie’s services , an appointment can be made direct with the charity. The first Maggie’s opened in 1996 by Maggie Keswick Jencks who used her own experience of cancer to create a new type of cancer care.
Kimbell explained: “When the local Cheltenham centre opened in 2010, it had 6,000 visits a year. Demand has gone up hugely, no doubt as a correlation with the incidence of getting cancer also sadly increasing to one in two. The Centre now receives 20,000 visitors annually. Collectively, charities such as Maggie’s play a part in easing pressure on the NHS.”
Kimbell describes the syndicate as a really enthusiastic bunch. Some were new to racing when they joined and are now much more involved. One was a fellow kidney transplant patient.
Syndicate members are kept involved with updates on Another Venture and the yard generally, via Bailey’s blog and video clips. There is an Owners Section on the website to review each race.
Kimbell enthused: “It’s hugely exciting for everyone! On Monday we had a Zoom call with Kim and David Bass (jockey) and everyone loved it. We would usually enjoy an end of season lunch and have had a visit around the Maggie’s Centre in Cheltenham”
Kimbell feels today’s race is tailor made for him. “David Bass knows Another Venture, like he knows all Kim’s horses, inside out. The horse has been very consistent, he’s a good 3m chaser and jumps well plus he won on him at Ludlow earlier in the season.”
“I hope Another Venture does everyone proud and helps to raise awareness for Maggie’s. The going might be a bit quick but Another Venture is in good form, Kim and David are in top form, so the groundwork is done. If he wins some prize-money a percentage will definitely go to Maggie’s.”
Kimbell wants the syndicate to continue to be successful in the future with new horses and enthused: “Racing is a sentient sport and we need to tap into the experiential side. I want to offer a money can’t buy day and expose owners to that thrill. That’s the kickback, the experience.”
A JustGiving page has been set up to support Another Venture’s fundraising for Maggie’s