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Punters Flock For a Fleecing at Ireland’s First Sheep Steeple Chase Race

Eager punters are preparing to be fleeced as they flock to Ireland’s first Sheep Steeple Chase – but it’s all for a good cause.

It is hoped that the charity event, which takes place at the Cill Dara Rugby Club, Co Kildare on Sunday, 28th August 2005 from 2pm will raise over €50,000 for the Rehab Foundation and for the Conor Leigh Fund, which is raising money to send four-year old Conor to Los Angeles for highly specialist ear reconstructive surgery.

Forty-eight of Ireland’s most athletic sheep have been in training for the past number of weeks under the watchful eye of Kildare vet, Sheila Lynch. In each of the six races, eight sheep with their teddy bear jockeys, will be encouraged to run the course and jump the five 18-inch high fences by handlers who will wave food at the finish line.

According to event organiser, Matt Browne, who recently completed a charity jet ski challenge across the Irish Sea, the sheep have been in training to jump the ramped fences and to keep a straight course.

“Our Sheep Trainer, Edward Fitzachery has been training the sheep to go to a particular person when they are called by giving them special treats. They recognise individuals and become familiar with their calls.

“However, when the race starts they tend to leap forward in all different directions, and some just go nowhere at all. While it is set to make the Clerk of the Course’s job just that little more difficult, it’ll certainly make for a very funny and exciting event. There’s really no telling what may happen.”

Each of the forty-eight sheep racing in the event can be sponsored at a cost of just €50. The winning sheep sponsor wins €150.

Entrance to the event costs just €10 per car and promises to be a fun day out for all the family. In addition to the packed race card of six sheep steeplechase races, entertainment will also include a bouncy castle, laserzone, face painting and pony rides, as well as a Dunk Tank, featuring Glen Ryan and William Heffernan from the Kildare Football Team.

Further details on the event are available from Matt Browne at (087) 265 4582 or from Karen Leigh on (086) 402 3910.


Note to Editor:

Rehab Group

The Rehab Group is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working for social and economic inclusion among people with disabilities and others who are marginalised. The Group’s philosophy is based on the belief that regardless of a person’s disability or social circumstances, it’s ability that should determine success in life. Each year more than 60,000 people access Rehab’s training, education, social care and commercial services at over 200 centres across Ireland and the UK.

Conor Leigh Fund

Conor Leigh is a four-year old boy who was born with unilateral microtia and aural atresia.

Microtia is the term used to describe a small or absent ear. It is a rare condition affecting one in 7,000 babies. Aural atresia means that there is no visible ear canal.

Ear reconstruction is a highly specialised form of reconstructive surgery. Conor is travelling to Los Angeles in February next year for the first of two operations to have a medpor implant, which will give him a second external ear. Conor will be one of the first people in Ireland to undergo this new implant surgery, which costs in the region of €30,000.

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