Winner! Lord Condi WINS!

What a fantastic result at Southwell yesterday in the 2 mile novice handicap chase under a positive ride from James Best. Somewhat fitting that James rode our first winner since lockdown as he has been, until other yards have got busier again lately, coming in every day and often cycling the 18 mile round trip. Condi is a horse that you need to know so that definitely helped.

To say Lord Condi was in the last chance saloon may have been stretching it a little but he certainly had a hoof in the door according to Jon Hughes who runs the Owners for Owners partnership that own him. The outsider of the field but fitted with first time visors he rarely gave me a moment of worry and although Beth Whittle, who rides him out every day, looks after & adores him, has got a shout out in the Racing Post today as giving him the loudest cheer, James seemed pretty ecstatic as he crossed the line too as were we all. Named after Belinda’s late father John, a nickname given to him by Ivor Potter, Landlord of Chipping Campden’s Lygon Arms, he’s been a frustrating horse and his line of four P’s in his form were there for all to see!

Thankfully we found he had awful stomach ulcers, something that we don’t see as often as most due to the regular turnout we have here, but treated for those, a good holiday and maybe simply enjoying life again seemed to have done the trick and we hope he can now go on from this and get confidence from his win.

Brilliant for all my hardworking team especially throughout these odd times and thrilled for owners Steve Harman, Joe Saumarez Smith, George Thornton, Jo Stainer, Andy Ash and John Finch whose colours he ran in yesterday – well done to all.

Mr Mafia so nearly followed up to make it a double and he simply could not have tried harder. Richard Johnson and him get on so very well and Dickie dictated the pace in front and got him absolutely jumping for fun. Turning for home he looked like he was going to be swallowed up with at least 3 going better but he simply does not know when he is beat and he managed to kick away again and another great leap at the last looked as if it may be enough. However I think he just bumped into a better handicapped horse on the day and he was eventually no match for the winner. What a gutsy horse though – he certainly went down fighting and Richard gave him nothing but praise. He will come on again for that run and certainly still has it in him so hopefully he’ll be back in the winners’ enclosure for Peter and Jane Boggis soon.

Raving Bonkers was so unlucky. He was keen throughout the race but jumped well and Richard had him seemingly poised to challenge when badly hampered 2 out and all but did the splits behind. For a moment it looked as if he was injured and Richard did the right thing to pull him up but thankfully he returned ok and we’ll thoroughly check him out today. Neither Raving Bonkers, nor his owners deserved that misfortune but hopefully their luck will change soon.

Looking forward to more celebrations later – my parents are visiting for the first time since Back on the Lash won on Festival Trials day in January, we’ve never not seen them for so long!