A group of rugby fans have taken ownership of a racehorse with trainer Lucinda Russell and will pledge any prize money to Doddie Weir’s research fund into motor neurone disease.
Behindthelines will represent a six-strong partnership known as ‘London Scots For Doddie’ and is likely to make his British debut at Kelso on 14 January.
Former Scotland rugby union international Weir announced in June he had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease and launched the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation to raise funds to investigate causes and potential cures for the condition.
Behindthelines will run in the same colours of rugby union side London Scottish, whose chairman Malcolm Offord is a member of the owning syndicate. “He’s owned by a group of London Scots, a rugby team started off by people from Scotland who live in London,” Russell explained.
“I went down to one of their award evenings and a few of them thought it would be a great idea to have a horse together.
“They then decided that because it is so ingrained with rugby that all prize-money should go to help Doddie.
“I’m just hoping that it all goes really well for them.”
Weir lives in the Borders and Russell is hoping the 47-year-old will be at Kelso when Behindthelines makes his first start for his new connections.
She said: “It should be really good fun, actually.
“He’s a lovely horse and he’ll probably go to Kelso on the 14th, next weekend – hopefully Doddie might be there.”
Behindthelines is by Milan, just like Russell’s Grand National winner One For Arthur.
The six-year-old former Irish point-to-pointer finished second on just his second outing at Tinahely, a performance Russell witnessed.
“We were over in Ireland and saw him run in a point-to-point and loved him,” said the Kinross handler.
“There is plenty of heavy ground and slow tracks around here and we felt he’d do well.”