Generous trainer Nicky Hammond’s short cut to help charity

Trainer Micky Hammond could be forgiven for taking an extra interest in the cold weather that is gripping Britain and threatening the New Year’s Day racing fixtures.

Not only does it disrupt the running plans for the 25 horses in his Yorkshire stable but it also tests the resolve of his charity challenge to wear shorts non-stop from November 1 to March 31.

Temperatures dipped to minus seven degrees at his Middleham base just before Christmas and have rarely risen above minus two since. 


Ice warrior: Hammond braves the cold on Middleham Moor to raise money for charity as his horses gallop past in the snow

But the trainer, who is hoping to raise £5,000 by his efforts, has braved the icy blasts on Middleham Moor in clothes better suited to Bondi Beach.

Hammond said: ‘I haven’t got the guts to jump out of an aeroplane and that challenge has become a bit old hat anyway.

'I thought this would be a novel way of raising money.

‘As long you keep yourself on the move, it’s not too difficult. I wouldn’t fancy waiting for a bus for 20 minutes and, at times, some of my horses are a bit slow coming up the gallops.

‘The most difficult situations are going somewhere when they don’t know why you are wearing shorts. I’ve had some funny looks.’

In the first week of his challenge, Hammond attended a funeral and made a court appearance over a speeding offence in his shorts.

He has since had to turn down an invitation to the prestigious annual Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charity lunch in London. 


Swanky: Mickey Hammond had to turn down an invitation to the glitzy Dorchester

Hammond said: ‘It was at the Dorchester and the people there said I would have to put on a pair of trousers if I wanted to attend.’

Hammond’s best horses have included 1996 Grand National fourth Sir Peter Lely and Great Yorkshire Chase winner Heidi III.

After a quiet period, his horses are running well again and he has sent out 11 winners from 88 runners this season, including one supplied by his fair novice hurdler Hollins.

Money raised will be split between the Injured Jockeys Fund, Macmillan Nurses and Racing Welfare plus two causes close to the hearts of the Middleham racing community, the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Pat Haslam and Kate Milligan, two of Hammond’s colleagues in Middleham, are battling the diseases.

Hammond said: ‘I feel I have been very lucky in life and wanted to give something back to those who have been less fortunate.

‘I’ll probably come up with something else in a couple of years but it won’t be as stupid as wearing shorts all winter.’

Donations can be made by sending cheques to Micky Hammond (Charities) at Oakwood House stables, Middleham, North Yorkshire, DL8 4PT.

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now