Whilst every single winner is special in it’s own right, winning yesterday with Mr Mafia at Market Rasen was a very special winner. Despite always running huge races and trying to out jump his rivals, Mr Mafia had somehow found at least one horse too good for him for the past two years but not yesterday. He seemed in top form at home and, even though he was unable to dominate proceedings from the outset, as he prefers to do, Sean Bowen reported he was always travelling really well and he once again jumped for fun. He never really gave me any cause for concern and after the race Jasmin, who looks after him, owner Peter Boggis and myself, there wasn’t a dry eye between us!
He really deserved that win – he’s one of our favourite horses in the yard and certainly the favourite horse of my youngest son Harry and Belinda, who rides him out every single day literally only missing riding him about 3 or 4 times in the last year! In fact, I’m sure she places him in front of me in her favourites list! He’s the kindest horse you will ever find and in fact when he does eventually retire we think he’d make a brilliant therapy horse. That’s a long way in the future though whilst he’s in this kind of form – he simply loves every day, loves being ridden out, going up the gallops and loves his racing. Not long after the race, The Racing Post rang me to let me know that he’d beaten the course record that had been held for 30 years! Brilliant and so thrilled for her owner Peter Boggis who we have known since we were kids and is a great friend.
Belinda was on her way back from the Royal Lancashire Show with Freddie & Harry, where they’d been for three days, and were stuck in traffic but I have no doubt they gave him a good shout out (Freddie reports there were tears!!!) and Belinda was home (after dropping the boys off at a party) to meet Peter & I in the Coach & Horses, Longborough, for a quick (delicious) pizza before we watched Mafia drive past and we rushed back to the yard to see him and share fizz with Jasmin!
Freddie rode another Shetland Pony Grand National Final winner in Lancashire on Saturday and was consistent all weekend on his dude of a pony ‘Blackie’. Such good experience for these kids and they absolutely love it – the crowd love watching it too as it doesn’t always go quite to plan so can make for entertaining viewing!
Freddie was delighted to meet Legendary Show Jumper John Whittaker after he’d just won on Blackie.
Good luck to Fern O’Brien who has her first rides tonight at Carlisle just two days after her 16th birthday. Fern has always been a talented rider and has ridden out for us occasionally for quite a few years and has been a friend to the boys since primary school. Actually I can’t quite believe she is 16! She’s not only a good rider but has a great attitude too and whatever happens today I am sure we will be hearing a lot more about her. We will be glued to the tv tonight!