Ruby rides to the rescue to drive internet auction’s success

20 Mar 2009

Following his multiple victories at Cheltenham, our illustrious equestrian hero, Ruby Walsh, has taken some time out to help launch the 2009 Charity Internet Auction on behalf of the Irish Horse Welfare Trust (IHWT).

While racing at Wexford Racecourse recently, Walsh was decked out in the top item for auction – a plain set of grey colours with free life registration, estimated to be worth at least €40,000.

Other items, which can be found on the IHWT website include a trip to Dubai, a painting and print by Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, the chance to play a round of golf with Ruby Walsh himself, visits to the famous racing yards of Aidan O’Brien and Paul Nicholls, plus signed silks/breeches of famous horses and jockeys such as Frankie Dettori and Tony McCoy.

In total, there are 180 items up for auction, which should appeal to a broad spectrum of racing enthusiasts.

Items are being auctioned over two weeks, with the deadline for the first 90 itmes being next Monday (23 March at 5pm) and the remainder the following Monday (30 March).

The IHWT, Ireland’s leading equine welfare charity, rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes neglected or abused horses and ponies countrywide.

It launched this unique internet auction to pay for and provide additional facilities needed at its recently purchased farm in Woodenbridge, Co Wicklow, where it is now permanently based. Residents at the farm currently include rescued horses and ponies of various types, sizes and ages, along with 14 ex-racehorses that are in a special programme to be retrained for rehoming, having completed a racing career. Currently, the IHWT cares for around 50 horses in total.

A similar internet auction in 2005 was very successful, with c€160,000 being raised. Despite the current financial climate, the IHWT is optimistic that a similar or hopefully even higher target can be achieved, and so is asking all horse lovers and racing fans to log on to the website during the last two weeks of March to bid for items.

IHWT also aspires to one day provide a horse sanctuary for the forgotten horses and ponies of Ireland. It hopes to have a dedicated premises with stables, including intensive care and isolation facilities for sick and injured equines, as well as grazing for long-term resident horses and ponies. It is hoped that the horse sanctuary will also have an education and visitors centre.

Some of the IHWT’s patrons include the horse trainer, Jessica Harrington; Jessica Kürten, who has twice represented Ireland at the Olympic Games, Aidan O’Brien; Lady O’Reilly of Castlemartin Stud; Sir Peter O’Sullevan (CBE) who was known as the “voice of racing” during his long career as a BBC horseracing commentator and racing correspondent; Rodney Watson (MBE), managing director of Killyhevlin Hotel in Enniskillen; and Tracy Piggott, sports person and national broadcaster.

For further information, contact IHWT at

By Carmel Doyle

Pictured: Cheltenham hero Ruby Walsh launches the 2009 Charity Internet Auction for the Irish Horse Welfare Trust

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic