Charlie Mann and Oisin Murphy on Ukraine aid trip to Poland
Lying on beaches and observing the trials and tribulations of his former colleagues was the plan for Charlie Mann when he quit training last year, but Hawaii and Mexico have come and gone for the popular Lambourn figure, who, along with champion jockey Oisin Murphy, is set for a more challenging trip next month.
Mann, whose retirement has included jaunts to Corfu, St Tropez, Prague and Portugal, will lead a convoy delivering aid to Ukrainian refugees in Poland on April 10 and Murphy, who is ineligible to reapply for his licence until February after Covid and alcohol breaches last year, will join him.
“The timing suits me, so I’ll be driving,” says Murphy, while Mann adds: “Good on Oisin. It’s great to have him on board and I hope he’s as good a driver as he is a jockey.
“We’re hoping to get between ten and 20 horseboxes and AP [Sir Anthony McCoy] has been a huge help in terms of support and awareness.”
Mann, who started training in 1993, employed Kyryl Shvetsov, a Ukrainian native who was his travelling head lad for a number of years.
“His mother is in Odessa and his sister is in Russia and we had to do something,” Mann adds. “I could give a charity £1,000 but you don’t feel like you’re doing anything. Hopefully this is more and it might make a difference to somebody. Przemysl, where we’re going, is near Lviv, which is getting bombed. They need tinned food, dry food, medical stuff, sleeping bags.
“[Vet] James Main is with us, so we’ll take some food to feed the horses and we may take horses from Ukraine and place them around Europe as we’ll have empty boxes coming back.”
Mann’s post-training exploits had been a little more laid-back, but he says: “It’s time to do something and I’ve got more of it on my hands than most. We’ve got five boxes already, but we need supplies and money. There’s a website – racingtohelpukraine.uk – and a drop-off point at Rowdown Farm in Upper Lambourn.
“Dominic Ffrench Davis is also coming and Nick Boyd has been a big driving force, while Lambourn Racehorse Transport and Philip Mitchell, who has a transport company, have given us boxes.”
Donations for the Racing To Help Ukraine Convoy can be made via the bank account 11049431 and sort code 60-93-03.