With less than three weeks until the Melbourne Cup, two creatives from Havas Sydney have launched a charity campaign that will see them cycle over a million metres (1000km) from Randwick Racecourse in Sydney to Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, as part of the Sportsbet Million Metre Stakes.
The effort will see Adam Burns (28) and Kevin Masters (35) along with friends Chris Sowerby (31) and Phil Prenter (26), undertake a grueling 11-day journey, in an attempt to raise $20,000 for Riding for the Disabled NSW (RDA NSW).
The four adventurers will be dressed in tailor-made jockey silks when they are brought under starters orders on October 18th at Sydney’s, Royal Randwick Racecourse. The ambitious ride, which is being supported by Sportsbet, will see the foursome tackle Australia’s highest peak, Mount Kosciuszko and the unpredictable weather of the Snowy Mountains.
Ahead of the ride the boys travelled to Newcastle, to the stable of Australian trainer Kris Lees, to visit last years Melbourne Cup winner, Protectionist. The boys are hoping the meteing with racing royalty will bring them luck as they begin their own assault on the race that stops a nation.
Adam Burns, who grew up in Newmarket and is the son of a former jockey, is no stranger to taking unconventional methods of transport to major sporting events. Last year Burns, was one of four men who walked 1966km to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, raising $85,000 for a Brazilian charity.
“The prospect of embarking on another crazy adventure is really exciting – and its fantastic to be doing it for a charity like RDA NSW. We visited a recent RDA event and to see the relationship the riders have with their horses and how the time with them can help them to manage their disabilities was eye opening.
“We know the inclines through the Snowies are going to push us to our limits so we’ve been training as much as our working lives will allow. We all know how tough the journey is going to be, but the prospect of finishing on Derby Day and handing over a big cheque to RDA NSW in front of a sell-out crowd will keep us going,” said Burns.
Burns is not the only member of the cycling quartet with a racing and adventurer background, Masters owns a stake in two horses trained by Gai Waterhouse and Chris Sowerby once cycled over 2,000km from Italy to England in 18 days instead of flying back to his motherland.
Phil Prenter, the only Irishman in the team, knows first hand what a huge impact charities like Riding for Disabled NSW can have on the development of disabled people, “My younger brother, Chris, has Down Syndrome and throughout his life our family has been supported by charities likes RDA NSW, so to be able to give something back on such a grand scale was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.”
The money raised by the team will be used by RDA NSW to continue to provide horse therapy, sport, recreation, training and safety programs for people with disabilities. Horse riding is a unique form of exercise and rehabilitation as the movement of the horse helps improve coordination, balance and muscular development and fitness for those with disabilities. RDA NSW is almost completely volunteer ran and depends largely on grants and donations.
Jan Pike, marketing director at Riding for the Disabled NSW said: “RDA (NSW) is so excited to have been selected as the charity of choice for the Million Metre Stakes fundraiser. We wish all the team a safe and successful journey and hope they enjoy their riding as much as our riders enjoy theirs.”
Cormac Barry, Sportsbet CEO, said: “The guys are legends! We love the innovative way they go about things. It’s a credit to them for working full time jobs while getting the Million Metre Stakes off the ground and raising funds and awareness for RDA. We will be cheering them on all the way.”