Every winner is special but some days are extra special and yesterday at Stratford definitely rates as one of those extra special days. Mr Mafia was making his debut for us under the ownership of Peter Boggis and John Abernethy after our ex jockey and now regular work rider, Warren Marson, advised us to buy him at the turn of the year. Peter and John have had two horses with us before and, although they’ve amassed 5 2nd placings between them, we’d not managed to train them a winner….until now!
Belinda has known the Boggis’s since she was a child so was thrilled when Peter (& wife Jane) decided to have a horse with us (their eldest daughter, International event rider Kitty King, is Ambassador of our Racing Club) and luckily for us Peter persuaded John (& wife Claire) to join his venture here and they have become huge supporters of the yard and regular visitors too.
Back to yesterday and, whilst Mr Mafia has been ready to run for about a month, the aim was always yesterday’s race – which looked ideal as it was for Conditional Jockeys so the winner doesn’t get a penalty and on a Sunday means 11 days until he would be re-assessed by the Handicapper – so Warren Marston helped me remain patient and wait for that race despite looking at a few earlier options as he was so well at home.
A great ride by Harry Stock who made a race winning decision down the far side to switch around a back pedaling rival and was strong turning for home when meeting more traffic – Mr Mafia pricked his ears when sent to the front and jumped the last like a fresh horse and the emotions in the Paddock showed what it meant to so many. It was John’s first winner so a day he’ll never ever forget. Harry Stock’s father Chris, who is another massive supporter of our team, has been poorly but was able to come home from hospital yesterday morning so watched at home whilst Harry’s mum Zoe, celebrating her birthday, came just for the race so a perfect birthday present for her and no doubt a tonic of the best sort for the Stock family. Harry’s sister Abi rides out here, often an early 1st lot with Freddie before he goes to school, and is a vital cog in the Stratford Racecourse wheel and their grandparents were also there to join in the celebrations. A local track for us so plenty of owners and friends to support too.
We’ve currently a 16% strike rate for the season which is something we’re very keen to try and continue throughout the whole season and a 23% strike rate over the past 14 days – delighted with that but not resting on our laurels.
The sun shone all day yesterday and we all carried on our celebrations at The Bell at Alderminster with a delicious supper and a perfect end to a fabulous day – I love it when a plan comes together! He’s A1 this morning – is such a dude and has eaten all his supper and breakfast – we’re now deciding where next for him before the Handicapper has his say.