4 out of 4 – Mr Mafia wins again!

Who could not love Mr Mafia?! I’m so thrilled for such lovely owners John Abernethy and Peter Boggis and for all our team here who work so hard and for Mr Mafia himself who seems to be in the form of his life since joining us at the beginning of the year shortly after his 9th birthday. How many horses improve aged 9?! He seems to have done and remains unbeaten since joining us despite yesterday’s Newton Abbot race being a big step up in class for him.

We nearly didn’t get there. Despite leaving plenty of time, there was an accident on the M5 and at one point my Satnav told us we’d get there at 2pm – his race was 2.15pm so that was too late. I hope the speed cameras were facing the other way! Harry Stock was with me so although it wasn’t imperative that I was there – Ash Hark & Harley Cornock could easily have saddled him and looked after the owners – however Harry and Mafia have struck up such a good partnership I was desperate to get him there.

A steady pace for most the race, I was worried a sprint finish wouldn’t suit him but added to that there seemed to be no-where through for him as the door was shut time and time again from turning in. Still 5th jumping the last and with a short run-in I was doubtful he’d get there. However, Mr Mafia jumped the last in true Mr Mafia style and landed running and flew past his opponents as if they were stood still to eventually win a shade cosily with his ears pricked by 1/2 a length.

John and Peter still can’t quite believe the bargain horse they picked up after he ran in a Selling Hurdle at Catterick at the end of December and my old stable jockey, and still my top work rider, Warren Marston flagged him up as a horse that maybe could do with a change of scenery….how right was he – he’s not called ‘The Judge’ for nothing! He doesn’t read my Blog so I can praise him on here without embarrassing him! Thrilled that wives Jane Boggis and Claire Abernethy were there too yesterday and another fabulous ride from Harry Stock whose parents Chris & Zoe were also there.

He returned to a heros welcome from my boys – my youngest Harry is his superfan and when Belinda rushed to school excited to tell them he’d won – they knew already. It appears Harry’s wonderful teachers’ assistant, Mrs Cox, who helps him with his reading in particular, had crept out with Harry onto the school field with a book and her phone hidden in it! Therefore the boys ran to greet her with ‘winner winner chicken dinner’!

That wasn’t the only excitement at Newton Abbot yesterday though. Harley Cornock, who has been a key member of the team for five years and who has Any Currency in retirement – taking him to the beach and regularly show jumping him, was riding in the Betfair Charity Race for Stable Staff in aid of Racing Welfare. Partnered by Matravers who runs in the colours of our Racing Club, he was perfectly positioned in 5th on the rain as instructed and rode a perfect race pushing him along to make ground before turning for home and for a moment I thought the leaders would come back to him. They didn’t but Harley finished 4th and looked stylish and effective and, although potentially very biased, I thought he was the rider to take out of the race! His smile and thank you’s afterwards made it even more special – a fabulous idea, Harley has raised around £500 for Racing Welfare and we now need to plan his next race to get his head in front! Well done Harley.

No runners this weekend. Mark Allen here this morning to watch Bay Dude. Jon Hughes back from his french holiday in too for a catch up – he’s missed 3 winners since he’s been away! Jo Stainer in again too – can’t keep away! We don’t mind!

Good luck to England – my boys already very excited about this afternoon’s match. Come on England!