Cheltenham Festival 2008 

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Jacqui O'Neill - Cheltenham Ladies Day Ambassador

Cheltenham Racecourse is delighted to announce that Jacqui O'Neill, one of the most high-profile women in Jump racing, has agreed to become its Ladies Day Ambassador for 2007/08.

Jacqui will be involved in a number of public and media events in the lead-up to Ladies Day as well as taking a full part in proceedings on the day itself.

Following a successful introduction last season, Ladies Day is becoming an important part of The Festival and is scheduled for Thursday, March 13 in 2008.

Ladies Day at Cheltenham features a number of pre-racing fashion awards, but also includes the presentation of the award for ‘The Outstanding Contribution made by a Lady to Jump Racing’, selected from a short-list made up of nominations from the public.

In 2007, this was won by Heather Atkinson, the senior nurse in the jockeys’ hospital at the racecourse.

In addition, Ladies Day allows Cheltenham to help raise funds for and awareness of Winston's Wish, a locally-based national charity which helps bereaved children and young people rebuild their lives after a family death.

Commenting on the news, Jacqui O'Neill said: “I'm thrilled to become the Ladies Day Ambassador and to help spread the word about this great addition to The Festival. Last season's Ladies Day was done with a real sense of panache and I'm hopeful that we can build even more interest in the events on and around the day in 2008.”

Edward Gillespie, Cheltenham's Managing Director, added: “Everyone in racing knows Jacqui as a stylish, energetic and extremely friendly character and I’m really pleased that she has agreed to accept this role. It is even more special given her life-long connection with the county of Gloucestershire.”


About Jacqui O'Neill

Jacqui, wife of Jackdaws Castle trainer and former dual champion jump jockey Jonjo O'Neill, has strong ties to the home of Jump racing.

She is a Gloucestershire native, having been brought up and schooled in the area - and she and Jonjo were actually married at Cheltenham Racecourse in January, 1997.

Jacqui plays a vital role in Jonjo's successful training career. She helped the Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning jockey turned trainer establish a 70-horse, 50 winners a season yard at Penrith, Cumbria before moving to the state-of-the-art Jackdaws Castle complex at Temple Guiting near Cheltenham in 2001.

Jackdaws Castle sent out 126 winners last season and there are already 49 in the bag this time before the main part of the season gets under way later this month with The Showcase at Cheltenham (Friday, October 19 and Saturday, October 20).

Jonjo once famously said of his wife's influence on his life and career: "Without Jacqui, I wouldn't begin to bother."

Jacqui O'Neill is the epitome of the modern woman, raising a young family, while finding the time to be actively engaged in running one of the most powerful stables in the land, and is often seen representing the stable at the races.

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