RYANAIR boss Michael O'Leary has agreed to donate a €50,000 bonus for a Cheltenham Festival win to the lung cancer research team headed by the professor who treated his late father.
The bookmakers Boylesports offered the money for any horse who won its novice chase at Leopardstown and went on to win at the UK festival.
And the airline boss said the bookmakers then suggested a charitable donation after O'Leary's Sir Des Champs, trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Davy Russell, won the Jewson Novices Chase.
"I think they thought there was something wrong giving a €50,000 bonus to a multi-millionaire," Mr O'Leary joked.
"Ken O'Byrne does the cancer research in St James's and treated my father last year.
"It seemed like a logical idea. I think it is one of those rare occasions when you see bookies giving money to charity."
After a win at Cheltenham the previous year, Mr O'Leary paid tribute to his father, Ted -- who was receiving chemotherapy for cancer at the time -- for inspiring his love of horses and dedicated the win to him.
Ted O'Leary died a few months later.
Professor Ken O'Byrne, Consultant Oncologist at St James's Hospital and head of the Thoracic Oncology Research Group, revealed that the "significant contribution" would be used to pay the salary of one of the researchers, purchase equipment and materials for the laboratory experiments.