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(L-R) Rachel Hood, owner of the horse Matthew rode and wife of John Gosden, Matthew Hancock, John Gosden, champion racehorse trainer who trained Matthew for his race, and William Lambe from the British Horseracing Authority
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
A Suffolk MP has been named Sports Parliamentarian of the Year in recognition of his work to promote horse racing and its role in the community.
Matthew Hancock, West Suffolk MP, who recently shed two stones in ten weeks and learnt how to ride a racehorse to take part in and win a charity race, was handed the award in the House of Commons.
A spokeswoman for the Sports and Recreation Alliance, who organised the event, said the 33-year-old was selected due to his “well-earned reputation as a friend to racing.”
In August this year Mr Hancock battled against celebrity riders including actor Nathaniel Parker in the one-mile Blue Square Cavalry Charge, held as part of the Horsemen and Heroes charity day at Newmarket.
The event celebrates the link between the horse-racing industry and the Household Cavalry, and raises funds for the charities Racing Welfare and the Household Cavalry Operational Casualties Fund.
Mr Hancock, secured a notable win on Dick Doughtywylie, despite never having ridden in a race before. In preparation for the event, The MP learned the craft of race-riding at the British Racing School before fine-tuning on the gallops with Newmarket trainers Michael Bell and John Gosden.
Mr Hancock, who coordinated an all-night sit-in to ensure that his Private Members Bill on remote gambling received a slot in parliament, has argued racing’s case in seven separate parliamentary debates on the sport’s funding.