THE poignancy was palpable after Wakanda’s stirring success in Doncaster’s feature Sky Bet Chase.
Missing was the brave horse’s owner Ray Scholey who had passed away the previous Sunday.
A South Yorkshire farmer, his widow Margaret and other family members said that he’d always wanted to win this historic race.
A longstanding supporter of Northern racing, his Truckers Tavern, trained by Ferdy Murphy, was second to Best Mate in the 2003 Cheltenham Gold Cup, before he decided to have horses in training with Sue and Harvey Smith.
“It’s a fitting tribute to Ray. He’s been a great supporter of National Hunt racing in the north and we could do with a few more people like him,” said showjumping legend Smith.
Scholey’s son Michael added: “This is one for my Dad. Wakanda has been a fantastic horse for the family.”
Ridden patiently by Henry Brooke, there were five in contention at the last before Wakanda surged through the field to win on the line.
Brooke, whose Irish Roe had earlier lost the Mares Hurdle in a pulsating finish to Maria’s Benefit, was always confident his horse would pick up. “The Scholeys have been great supporters and it’s nice to ride a big Saturday winner,” he added.