Danielle’s Journey owners hope for ‘luck of the Irish’ at Cheltenham on St Patrick’s Day

Danielle's Journey, ridden by A E Lynch, wins a race at Ayr last month
Danielle's Journey, ridden by A E Lynch, wins a race at Ayr last month

A Belfast racing club is hoping ‘for the luck of the Irish’ when their horse named after a teenager battling a brain tumour runs at Cheltenham on St Patrick’s Day

Sean Maxwell, 36, from Belfast’s Realta Horse Racing Club said their horse – Danielle’s Journey – travelled over to Cheltenham on Monday and will be racing at 5.45pm in the St Patrick’s Day card.

Danielle McGriskin along with horse trainer Stuart Crawford and other members of the Realta Horse Racing Club

Danielle McGriskin along with horse trainer Stuart Crawford and other members of the Realta Horse Racing Club

“We have members in the club from around Northern Ireland, the UK and even Japan,” he said.

“We leased the horse and we have been very lucky with her,” he added.

“She took us to the Punchestown Festival, the meeting at Fairyhouse and now to the biggest meeting of them all which is the Cheltenham Festival.”

When asked about the odds for their horse, Mr Maxwell said: “You will get her anywhere from 25/1 to 40/1. We are not going there to win the race but if she is not there she can’t win so we will go and take our chance.

Danielle's Journey (foreground) in action

Danielle's Journey (foreground) in action

“There are around 14 people involved with this horse. When you get together with like-minded people it makes it rewarding and you split the costs. We have been very lucky with Danielle’s Journey.”

Mr Maxwell said in July 2015 the club learned through social media of the story of 19-year-old Danielle McGriskin from Ballinderry who had been diagnosed with a stage two brain tumour and hydrocephalus.

He said: “Rather than accept the illness Danielle decided to write a blog and raise funds for the Brain Tumour Charity. The blog was named Danielle’s Journey, the filly was named after the blog and the charity was given a five per cent share in the racehorse.”

He added: “Danielle is a very optimistic person and when we met her you could not have given a horse a better name.

“She is a very strong and outgoing person and if the horse took on the same attributes we would have a winner.”

He said Danielle “will not be there tomorrow as she has been ill recently but she will be cheering on from home”.