Has won at every National Hunt course in the UK except Cate
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Thomas Richard Dunwoody was born in Belfast in 1964. His father, George Dunwoody, was a point-to-point rider and later a National Hunt trainer, and his mother Gillian was the daughter of Dick Thrale who trained racehorses at Epsom. Richard and his younger sister Gail moved to Gloucestershire in 1972 because of the troubles in Northern Ireland. Richard was sent as a boarder to Rendcomb College, an indep
independent school near Cirencester.
I met Richard Dunwoody at the MK Dons stadium in Milton Keynes where he was a guest at the Collectormania event held there in May 2010.
Dad and I were able to have a long chat with him, and he told us all about his amazing '1000 miles in 1000 hours' challenge that he completed in 2009. He also told us that Desert Orchid was the best horse that he ever rode!
Richard's first NH win on Game Trust
Richard aged 12
During school holidays, he rode racehorses at Paul Kelleway's stables in Newmarket as a 12- year-old, and had his first race ride as an am
amateur in 1982. Game Trust gave him his first winner at Cheltenham in May 1983. He grabbed the headlines when riding four winners at a Hereford meeting in 1984, and turned professional soon afterwards.
Richard Dunwoody with David Nicholson
Richard Dunwoody with Martin Pipe
"Desert Orchid was a fantastic horse to ride and without doubt the best horse I ever rode in my entire career." (Richard Dunwoody)
(above) Richard in One Man
(left) Richard on Sound Man
Dunwoody rode in more than 10,000 races, and by the time he was forced to retire through a serious neck injury in 1999, he had won a record-breaking 1,699 National Hunt winners.
Richard Dunwoody with West Tip after
winning the 1986 Grand National
Riding West Tip in the 1989 Grand National
His most noteworthy wins included two Grand Nationals (on West Tip in 1986 and on Miinnehoma in 1994); the Cheltenham Gold Cup (on Charter Party in 1988); The King George VI Chase four times (on Desert Orchid in 1989 & 90 and One Man in 1995 & 96) and the Champion Hurdle (Kribeon
On Grand National winner Miinnehoma
On Champion Hurdle winner Kribensis
When Richard married Carol Abraham in 1988
(on Kribensis in 1990).
On Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Charter Party
The Cheltenham Gold Cup
Throughout his riding career, Richard Dunwoody was very highly respected by his fellow jockeys who called him 'The Prince' because he was such a stylish rider. To the racing pu
Richard Dunwoody on board Desert Orchid
These are some of the highlights of Richard's racing career:
public, he is best known for his partnership with the hugely popular Desert Orchid, the pair winning seven races.
West Tip was also there!
Was Champion Jockey three times from 1993 to 1995.
Was voted 'Jockey of the Year' five times during 1990-95.
He broke the record for riding the most winners in the UK over fences (1,679) when he won on Yorkshire Edition at Wincanton in Apri
Rode more than 100 winners in each of 10 consecutive seasons from 1989 to 1999.
Rode 197 winners during his best season (1993-94).
On Florida Pearl at Cheltenham in 1998
April 1999 for trainer Paul Nicholls. His eventual record of 1,699 winners stood until beaten by Tony McCoy in 2002. McCoy has since gone on to top 3,000 winners!
Richard wiith Yorkshire Edition at Wincanton
after win No.1,679 in 1999
Before retiring Richard had already started Dunwoody Sports Marketing and had even taken up motor racing as a hobby because of his self-confessed addiction to "adrenalin, speed and danger".
In 2003, he took part in the Polar Challenge, a gruelling race from Resolute Bay in Canada, 350 miles across some of the most desolate terrain anywhere, trying to be fastest to reach the Magnetic North Pole. 2004 he ran in the London Marathon. In 2008, he and American explorer Doug Stoup reached the South Pole after a 48-day trek raising £80,000 for charity. They followed the same route which had previously been attempted by Irish explor
explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.
Richard's 2009 challenge was to walk one mile every hour for 1000 consecutive hours! The walk was inspired by Captain Robert Barclay Allardice who, for a bet, completed the challenge in 1809. Exactly 200 years later, Richard walked the same mile (from the Bedford Lod
Lodge Hotel in Newmarket, up the Bury Road to a post half a mile away and back again) for 255 hours 57 minutes and 36 seconds. Before the July Cup race on July 10, he was joined by racing legend Lester Piggott to complete the last mile of the challenge up the home straight of the July Course at Newmarket.
Dunwoody walks along Newmarket's Bury Road
Walking the last mile with
Richard completed the challenge 39 hours and 51 seconds quicker than Captain Barclay and, at the same time, raised money for the four charities - Sparks, Racing Welfare, Spinal Research and the Alzheimer's Society. He lost half a stone in weight during the walk. Olym
Olympic swimmer Mark Foster said, “He’s mad but you’ve got to admire someone who is giving up sleep and effectively walking a marathon every day for 42 days for charity.”
In August 2009, Richard took part in the BBC’s popular Strict
Richard & Lilia on Strictly Come Dancing
Strictly Come Dancing programme, partnering Lilia Kopylova. He admitted that taking to the dance floor made him "more nervous than I’ve ever been", and he was voted off the show after two weeks.
Richard Dunwoody continues to actively support charities, and in September 2010, led the China Challenge which involved walking part of the Great Wall of China to raise funds for the Animal Health Trust to rescue blinded Moon bears to restore thei
Richard Dunwoody at the
Richard Dunwoody has writ
Books by Richard Dunwoody
written a number of books. These include Hell for Leather (1993); Duel (1994) which tells of his battle with Adrian Maguire for the jockey's championship in 1993-94 and Hands & Heels (1997) about 18 of his favourite horses. His autobiography called Obsessed was published in 2000, after his retirement. In it, he talks
Richard Dunwoody & Lilia Kopylova
talks frankly about his total obsession with his success in racing, his fear of failure and his appalling treatment of his very supportive wife Carol, which led to her attempting suicide before they eventually divorced. At the end of the book there is a complete record of all the statistics and achievements of his riding career. Richard'sfollow
Richard's follow-up autobiography Method in My Madness: 10 Yearso
Years Out of the Saddle (2010) is all about his very eventful life after he left racing.
Richard Dunwoody was awarded the MBE in 1993 for services to racing.
Richard signed this photo for my dad. The two horses are
One Man (left) and Desert Orchid (right)
Richard signed this photo to me showing him winning the
1994 Grand National on Miinnehoma