Ascot event for Prince’s Countryside Fund: Charles & Camilla watch Michael Owen compete

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attended the races at Ascot today, held to help raise funds for The Prince’s Countryside Fund.

The race day raised money for The Prince’s Countryside Fund, which was set up by The Prince of Wales in 2010, and supports British Farmers and the countryside. It provides up to £1.2 million in grants to rural areas every year, to kick-start farming apprenticeships, village shops and services, and rural transport schemes.

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Former England striker, Michael Owen, who finished second, was participating in his first race with horse, Calder Prince. The 37-year-old came ‘tantalisingly close’ to a win, according to race officials.

Mr Owen who seemed to enjoy himself, later said: “I loved it, it was better than I expected. We seemed to go quick really early on and I thought, ‘wow,’ nobody can keep this up – it was the fastest I had ever been on a horse. The horse slowed up in to the bend but whipped up on the inside and all of a sudden I was in front, and I thought, ‘come on!”


The former footballer also echoed Prince Charles’ comments on recognising the hard work that it requires to be a jockey. He remarked, “We all watch things on the telly and you take it for granted, you look at these great jockeys and it is amazing what they can do.”

prince charles and camilla watched former footballer michael owen race today in an event at ascot for the prince’s countryside trust (clarence house)

“I have made a start, I feel safe on a horse and considering I hadn’t sat on a horse until six months ago to ride in a race I am pretty chuffed.

“Of course there is plenty of good to come out of it; lots of money raised for charity, I have lost a stone and half to get here, I have done something that is fulfilling and it has been a long-term ambition to sit on a horse and that was a right buzz.”

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The future King and Queen presented prizes to the jockeys, who between the ten of them, have raised in excess of £40,000.

The first race day held for the Countryside Fund was in 2015, and since then over £720,000 has been raised by the Fund’s partnership with Ascot Racecourse near Windsor Castle. It is also the location of the week-long meet in June that Her Majesty is so fond on.

Indoors, there was shopping available, including art and local produce. The Prince and Duchess were offered a sample of Davidstow cheese, and Charles and Camilla chatted to a local artist about her work that was on sale.
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Last week, Charles revealed his love for the sport, and spoke about the amount of hard work required during his training. He said, “I ran, I also bicycled endlessly, on a bicycle, where you take the seat off!”

Meanwhile, Camilla visited the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court with The Duchess of Gloucester.

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