Military jockeys set to race at prestigious Grand Military Gold Cup

Watch: Military jockeys Nathan Rahman and Will Kellard talk about their preparation for the Grand Military Gold Cup.

Military jockeys are set to race in one of the oldest and most prestigious military races on the racing calendar, the Grand Military Gold Cup.

Taking place at Sandown Park in its second military meeting this year, six races will unfold on the day with the Grand Military Gold Cup set to be the feature race.

Open exclusively to serving and retired military amateur riders, the Grand Military Gold Cup is a National Hunt Chase that was first run in 1841, and last year saw Major Charlie O'Shea ride Rolling Dylan to their first Grand Military Gold Cup.

Maj O'Shea is expected to race again this year as the title defender among some experienced riders, as well as some newcomers to the military riding scene. 

Sergeant Nathan Rahman rode Ballycross in last year's event, where a crucial error coming down the back straight cost them the victory.

Now back from injury to compete at this year's event, Sgt Rahman told Forces Sport that he will be "ready to lay it down" at this year's race. 

He said: "Training is not going too badly, I am riding regularly enough and I rode for a number of different trainers.

"Hopefully, fingers crossed, the frost stays away and we get some nice ground on Sandown so, yes, I'm really looking forward to it.

"We've got some nice riders that have come out of the woodwork that were unable to ride during the Covid period, and we've also got some nice talent that's just come through for their first rides as well."

He added: "I will be going out there fully primed and prepped, ready to lay it down. I've got a nice horse to go to war with, so looking for a good result."

Major Will Kellard finished second at the Grand Military Gold Cup in 2017, a year after making his debut at the event. He is also expected to race at the event again this year. 

He said: "I should be riding this year, fingers crossed, for a trainer called Jamie Snowden, who is ex-military himself, on a horse that's owned by a bunch of military owners.

"I'm lucky that I'm close enough to Lambourn that I can go and ride before I go into work and, yes, keep my weight down and get rid of that Christmas bulge and get ready for the racing.

"I'm really looking forward to it and I'm hopeful for a good result this year."

The Grand Military Gold Cup takes place at Sandown Park Racecourse on 7 March.

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