Peter Boggis has told us that Mr Mafia is his ‘horse of a lifetime’ and he’s pretty special to us all here too and at Ludlow on Monday he showed us all again how much he loves racing. Despite being 13 years old and us all fearing he was now too high in the handicap, he defied his large odds in some style, jumping for fun and going on to win convincingly by 7 1/2 lengths.
He returned to the Winners’ Enclosure to a rapturous applause and an emotional Peter Boggis who adores his veteran so much. There was no smile larger than Sean Bowen’s either who told the Racing Post:
“Mr Mafia loves it. From the minute we jumped off and he saw a fence he just attacked it. That’s what makes him so good in races like these. For a horse to have that enthusiasm at his age is great to see. It’s always hard if you win three or four in a season and keep going up [in the handicap] and we were saying he might be a couple of pounds too high still but it’s a great bit of placing by Martin as this seemed to suit him.”
Mr Mafia was the Racing Post’s Star Performer of the day at Ludlow and they also mentioned that he ‘lit up Ludlow’. His win also proved a tonic for his work rider Belinda who couldn’t be at Ludlow due to a bout of gastroenteritis. She’s improving slowly and being able to see Mr Mafia in his field from her bedroom window certainly helps!
What a dude he is, we all absolutely adore him and that win took him to less than £4000 off winning £100,000 in prize money. Some feat for a horse who isn’t a candidate for the big Festivals but who always gives his all and has given us endless fun and continues to do so. Please Mr Handicapper be kind to our 13 year old veteran….!
Sometimes horses do make fools of you and Ben Buie was our best chance of the day and started co-favourite for his 2 mile Chase but who took exception to the many umbrellas in the Paddock and, we feel, his head wasn’t in it from then on. We quickly asked the crowd to put their umbrellas down, which all kindly agreed, but the damage had been done and Sean reported that he was shying at things at the start and even during the race and simply not concentrating one bit. Frustrating as it looked a winnable race so we either need to run him on fair weather days or practice with a crowd and umbrellas!
Finescope ran a fine race in the bumper to finish 3rd. She’ll need more of a test over hurdles but it was a solid run and I wasn’t surprised to hear that she was Racing TVs pick of the paddock as she’s a fine stamp of a mare. Lots of fun to be had with her I’m sure.
Windy Cove runs tonight at Warwick under Sean Bowen. She needs to learn to settle before she can finish her races but she’s back in her hood, seems well at home and if she co-operates with Sean then she should run a nice race.
Sad news to report – earlier this week we heard from Andrew Jones that the wonderful Benbane Head had been put to sleep aged 18. He did so much for our yard helping put us on the map in the early days and back then I was riding out daily and didn’t let anyone else on him! We purchased him after winning his point to point in Ireland and he won his bumper on debut for us and also became our first Cheltenham winner on just his 2nd start over hurdles. He added 5 more wins to his name including bouncing back to win at Cheltenham again, this time over fences and after he’d suffered a tendon injury. He won over £80,000 and gave us so many great days and has enjoyed 7 wonderful years in retirement. RIP Benny and thanks for all the memories.