A NORTH Yorkshire trained racehorse,named after a rugby league star who raised nearly half-a-million pounds for charity after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, has won his debut race

Steve Prescott is a two-year-old owned by Marwan Koukash and is in training with Richard Fahey in Malton.

But after the Dutch Art-sired colt stormed to victory at the five furlong maiden race at Haydock on Saturday, Mr Koukash said: “I have never been so thrilled in all my life.”

Mr Prescott’s wife, Linzi, and two sons were delighted by the idea of the naming and were at Haydock on Saturday to see the horse’s impressive debut.

Mr Koukash has pledged to donate all prize money to the Steve Prescott Foundation, which was founded by the rugby league international when he was diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer, aged 32, in 2006.

Mr Prescott had helped St Helens win the Super League, and the Challenge Cup twice, before moving to the Hull Sharks. He also represented both England and Ireland at international level.

But two years after retiring from the sport, he was diagnosed with the cancer and given months to live.

He reacted by throwing his energies into completing gruelling, epic challenges to raise money for causes close to his heart.

In 2010, Mr Prescott was awarded an MBE for services to rugby league and charity and he continued his fund-raising efforts until his death last November, aged 39 – seven years after diagnosis.

Mr Fahey said: “It’s tremendous Marwan has named him after Steve, who was a wonderful rugby player and inspiration to so many people.

“He’s a horse we like and hopefully he will raise awareness of – and money for – the Steve Prescott Foundation.”