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Gay Kelleway calls on racing's support after equine mercy mission to Ukraine

Trainer Gay Kelleway  saving the planet 12.8.20 Pic: Edward Whitaker
Gay Kelleway: round trip of nearly 2,000 miles from Newmarket to UkraineCredit: Edward Whitaker

Trainer Gay Kelleway has delivered supplies and equine medical aid for horses being rescued from the war in Ukraine after a round trip of around 2,000 miles.

Kelleway, who arrived at the Ukrainian-Polish border on Tuesday, plans further trips and urged the racing community to make donations.

Racing has united through the Racing To Help Ukraine campaign to provide humanitarian aid via a convoy organised by Charlie Mann and including jockey Oisin Murphy, which set off on Sunday.

Kelleway also left her Newmarket base on Sunday night to provide equine aid to horses being saved from the conflict. She arrived at a horse hub and stables which has been set up on the Polish border just two hours away from the Ukrainian city of Lviv to drop off goods, including bedding and rugs.

The trainer is set to make another trip again next week in a bid to try to rehome some of the horses in the UK and is hoping to set up a charity to help fund the stables, which currently has 25 horses with more expected to arrive in the coming days.

Oisin Murphy to join globetrotting Charlie Mann on Ukraine aid trip to Poland

Speaking on her way back to Newmarket from southern Poland, she said: "It's horrendous. Horses have been so good to me in life, without them I'd be nothing. I felt I had to do something, and what I saw today was heartbreaking. It's awful.

"Me and Neil Carson, my co-driver, were going to stay but we were told we would be of more help going back and getting more supplies to keep it going to bring horses back next week. It isn't getting better this war, in fact it's getting far worse.

"This isn't a holiday, this is a mission. We want to get back there as soon as we can to help the horses and everyone. Please contact me if you have anything you can donate towards helping the horses."

Charlie Thornycroft, a former PA to the late Khalid Abdullah, is helping orchestrate the rescue mission alongside vets from Ukraine and across Europe.

Gay Kelleway: hoping to set up a charity to help fund the horse hub on Ukrainian-Polish border
Gay Kelleway: hoping to set up a charity to help fund the horse hub on Ukrainian-Polish borderCredit: Edward Whitaker

Kelleway added: "Charlie is living off her savings. One time, her and the vets took a lorry into the war zone area of south Ukraine, picked up 60 horses and brought them over to safety. They need so much stuff and so much help. They've got no electric fencing so they can't turn the horses out. I'll keep funding it myself if I have to.

"She's amazing and my hero, as are the vets. They get horses out of there in vans held together by string just to get them to safety. They're great people and we need more of them like that.

"A Ukrainian guy who works in the UK gave me £60 and told me to take it and do whatever I can to help with it. We've had a few trainers donate but we need to realise horses have been so good to us all of our lives."

You can support Gay Kelleway's mission and the Racing To Help campaign by following this link:

Read more on this subject:

Oisin Murphy to join globetrotting Charlie Mann on Ukraine aid trip to Poland

Ukraine aid trip touches a nerve for Newmarket pre-trainer

Newmarket head lad speaks of his anguish following Russian invasion of Ukraine

'We stand with them' – horse carries Ukraine-coloured silks in anti-war protest

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Matt RennieReporter
Published on 12 April 2022Last updated 10:13, 13 April 2022