Top rider on track to boost charity

'I had no hesitation'

JACOB PAGE
Last updated 05:00 11/04/2012
  	 Lance O'Sullivan

NEW COURSE: Former jockey Lance O'Sullivan is running for charity.

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Champion jockey Lance O'Sullivan made a career of waiting for the right run, but yesterday morning he was happy to be out in front with a lap to go.

The former star rider and three thoroughbred racing administrators were at Phar Lap Raceway at 5.30am to help raise funds for the TrackWalk for CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Trust.

The Timaru course was stop number 13 of 51 licensed racetracks that O'Sullivan, Otago Racing Club chief executive Andre Klein, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing company secretary Simon Cooper and Hawke's Bay Racing general manager Jason Fleming hope to run in the next six days.

Timaru was the first stop of day two, after the quartet ran 12 tracks yesterday, starting in Gore and finishing in Waimate.

O'Sullivan, who rode 2479 winners in his remarkable career, is a patron for the trust.

He said he received a late callup to the challenge, but was happy to be involved.

"I was approached about seven weeks ago by [former jumps jockey] Tommy Hazlett, who was going to do it, but [he] had to pull out due to work commitments," O'Sullivan said. "Racing, unfortunately, ends up with a few people with spinal injuries, so when I was approached, I had no hesitation [in supporting the fundraiser]."

The 48-year-old, who retired from competitive racing in 2003, said he still rode horses three days a week for fitness

The 12-time premiership-winning rider runs a Waikato dairy farm.

People can donate by going to www.fundraiseonline.co.nz/TrackWalk or can text TRACKWALK to 2427 to donate $3.

The event ends at Ellerslie on Saturday morning.

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- The Timaru Herald

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