Some days in racing are very special and yesterday was just one of those days. Warwick, despite being a local track to us, hasn’t been the luckiest for us over the years however yesterday changed that myth with us celebrating our 20th winner of the season … and then an unofficial 21st in the concluding charity race – a double on the day!
Found On has always been a mare we’ve thought a lot of and she’s very keen at home and has been in her races but I decided to leave the hood off yesterday with the trip of 2 miles being the bare minimum for her. As she carted Sean Bowen to post I was a little worried about that decision but I needn’t have worried as Sean quickly got her settled in front and jumping well. In fact she never missed a beat, with the rain softened ground working in our favour too, she loved it out in front and despite looking a little flat footed turning for home as the rest closed in on her, she is as tough as they come and kicked clear again after the last in good style to win by 4 3/4 lengths. I’m absolutely thrilled for Oliver Ryan, who sadly couldn’t be at his local track yesterday, but who is so supportive of our team and deserved this win as much as Found On did. A great ride and I look forward to going chasing with this lovely mare.
With Ollie Ryan not there to collect his prize I was delighted that Vicki Atkins, who has done so much flat work with Found On over the summer building her up and helping her so much, was eventually persuaded to collect the prize on Ollie’s behalf. Well done Vicki.
Then it was all eyes on the Charity Race in aid of The Air Ambulance, a race that should have been run in May 2020. Beth Whittle, who has worked for us for a few years and has looked after and ridden Back On The Lash since she arrived, was having her first ever ride in a race. Beth had worked so hard on her fitness and taken advice from everyone she could but we weren’t sure who she would ride until a few weeks ago when Mark Boothright kindly agreed that it would fit in well for her to ride his own Back On The Lash. Beth could not believe her luck when I told her that news as he’s a horse she absolutely adores as anyone who is friends with Beth on social media will confirm (Beth’s ‘Lash Potato’!)!! The race conditions allowed jockeys to ride any horse and at any weight from 10 stone so Beth rode at the minimum weight of 10 stone and, on ratings, Lash was rated higher than the field from between 1 to 5 stone.
However….that rating was on his ability as a 3 mile hurdler/chaser and this was over 1 mile, 5 furlongs with amateur jockeys mostly having their first rides. All to play for but, as Beth said, just to ride her favourite horse in a race in front of all her family and friends was enough and anything else was a bonus. Added to that she’d raised nearly £2500 for a brilliant charity. Belinda brought Freddie & Harry straight from school to watch – they weren’t missing this.
And she won! Her instructions were to be wide and out of trouble and she did just that, sharp at the start, handy with a lead and Lash loved it as much as she did. Turning for home a little wide but it didn’t matter – she kicked on again and, despite a ding dong battle with the Dan Skelton trained runner, Lash wasn’t doing much in front and they crossed the line with nearly a length to spare. I am sure we were the noisiest team on the racecourse! So pleased for Beth and there were plenty of tears of joy from friends and family. No one as excited as Beth though and super scenes in the Winners’ Enclosure and Winners’ Room and a new found love for Warwick from Team Keighley!
On to the Coach & Horses for a celebratory supper! Thanks so much to Mark Boothright for helping make Beth’s dream come true – a day she will never ever forget.