MARLBOROUGH St John's Academy student Thea Geake is in the starting line up for the Greatwood Charity Race at Newbury.

And by doing so, Thea, 17, from Ogbourne St George, will be following a family tradition.

Her grandfather, Toby Balding OBE, trained racehorses for 48 years and saddled over 2000 winners. And her cousin, TV presenter Clare Balding was also a successful jockey and an inspiration to Thea.

"I would love to be a jockey," she said. "And I am absolutely thrilled to have been picked to race in the Greatwood Charity Race. It is a real honour."

Thea has to raise £2,500 to allow her to race.

"Greatwood is such a good charity, " said Thea.

"They do amazing work retraining racehorses and helping young people so I am delighted to help raise money for them. I've raised about £1,300 so far on the Just Giving website."

Greatwood, near Marlborough, was the first charity to use former racehorses to educate disadvantaged children and young adults with special needs. It also rescues neglected and ill treated former racehorses.

Currently studying for her A Levels, Thea says she wants to follow her parents Serena and Jonathan Geake and her two brothers into the horse racing world.

She is already making her mark, having recently won third place at the Horse of the Year Show with her retrained racehorse, Quilly, in the race horse to riding horse category. (pictured)

She's off to a good start with her first major race too. Her brother and father spotted and bought the young horse Thea will ride in the Greatwood Charity Raceday on February 29th.

The event is billed as an opportunity to see some of the future stars of the jumps world.

"The horse is called Storm Eleanor,", she said.

"She is currently being trained by Hughie Morrison.

"She is the most un-marey mare you will ever meet, and there is something really special about her," she said.

Storm Eleanor, or Nelly, is four years old and quite new to the game, so both she and Thea are now in training.

"I am doing a lot of riding out and some running, as you have to be fit to race over a mile and two furlongs."

Thea has so far managed to raise around £1,300 by marketing her race on social media.

She is also working on her parents and brothers to place a bet on the day, as she thinks she is in with a chance against the other 11 riders, and therefore worth a punt. "I am so excited, " she said. "It's going to be great."