When Sea, our little Irish mare, returned to Newcastle racecourse a few weeks ago she was after justice.
The sprightly bay had been narrowly denied on both her previous visits to the track earlier in the season.
Her regular jockey, Becky, was away working in Australia after winning the Alex Scott Scholarship which provides promising future trainers an opportunity to spend a month abroad gaining work experience with a top trainer.
I had called her earlier in the day. She had been riding on the beach near Sydney and was having a great time.
“But I’m missing riding two of my favourite horses today. Sea and Ilaya both love Newcastle.”
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Her voice was tinged with disappointment.
I knew she was mortified to be missing the chance of a double, but Becky always thinks of others. She would be happier than anyone if they both won.
I sat with Sea’s owners for lunch. She was their first horse, five friends who had decided it would be fun to go racing and have something of their own to cheer on.
A lively, genuine bunch, they had made lots of new friends from going racing with Sea.
Sat next to us at lunch was Ilaya’s owners, the other horse Becky usually rode.
One of the owners, Rob, had wagered a small bet on three horses win-ning today; Ilaya, Sea and an outsider at Naas he fancied.
Sure enough his lovely grey, Ilaya won her race well. I knew Becky would be watching, cheering her home.
Next, it was our turn. Sea strode around the paddock with purpose to her step. This time our mare won in a hack canter by 10 lengths.
It was not only her owners jumping for joy when their first winner crossed the line.
Shortly after the celebrations had calmed, I received a call. It was Rob ringing to congratulate me. “Oh, that Irish horse I backed won too” he added.
Two days later a bottle of Champagne arrived at the yard. Sea’s win had secured the third leg of Rob’s bet winning him £12,000 from his small wager. He wanted to say thank you. I was extremely touched.
Next Saturday is the Yorkshire Area Point to Point at Askham Bryan. The meeting was in danger of being lost having originally been the West of Yore fixture, who had struggled with volunteers.
It was a diehard group of hardworking pointing seniority, reluctant to lose yet another Yorkshire meeting who pulled together to keep the date.
Fiona Needham, Sarah Dent, John Furness and treasurer Christopher Orme are hoping their dedication pays off with a great day’s racing. “It was a huge leap of faith,” explains Fiona.
Let’s hope the sun returns for them.
Details on www.pointing inyorkshire.co.uk