Day of glory for novices as charity race winner proves banker material
A PINT of Guinness was the only reward sought by the Irish chartered banker who landed the Cheltenham charity race in style.
London-based Brian Bunyan (45), originally from Kildare town, revealed he had entered the St Patrick's Derby at the famous national hunt course in aid of Cancer Research UK in memory of his father, Arthur, who died from cancer.
"It didn't matter where I finished," said Bunyan, after he won the race aboard Age of Glory trained by his brother, Darren.
"I've raised about €10,000 so far and I know I've got some more to come."
The director at Standard Chartered Bank in London was cheered on by his mother, Mary, who turns 80 this year, and was "determined" to make the race.
"I haven't had a drink since December in preparation for this so one thing I'm dreaming of is a Guinness first of all," he said.
The banker was among a field of 12 novice jockeys including a garda, a sports presenter, event rider, solicitor and football administrator.
Navan solicitor Grainne Loughnane (27) steered the famous Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Newmill into second place.
"He is an unbelievable horse, he is 15," she said.
Father-of-two Garda James Fenton (37), from Fermoy, Co Cork, achieved a lifetime ambition when he rode around the world-famous course.
"It was an amazing experience when you see all the stands coming up the hill," said the garda.
The Irish-born presenter for a French racing channel, Sally Ann Grassick (29), was welcomed home by Limerick businessman JP McManus who lent her a horse for the race.
So far, the charity event has raised more than €750,000 for Cancer Research UK.