I’ve become very attached to Blackdown Hills (Golly) since she arrived from Jamie Snowden’s yard a couple of months ago. Despite being a bit of a teenage rebel when she arrived, she has become an extremely nice ride and has been continually improving in her work, so we set off for Worcester full of optimism for a good showing.
Golly is still only four years old but she traveled well and I was pleasantly surprised by how calmly she coped with the preliminaries. So, after giving her a pre-race massage, we got her ready and felt proud to see the gleam in her coat and eye. She got slightly excited on the long walk across the course from the stables to the racecourse proper but she was no problem to saddle and her owners John Cole and Penelope were delighted to see her looking so well.
As it was a conditional jockey and amateur bumper, we asked Freddie Tett to ride her. Freddie gave her a beautiful ride and the race was on in earnest coming through the last flight of hurdles with Golly and Deshan (the well-fancied 13/8 favourite) battling it out head to head.
Although Golly had been off the bridle for longer than Deshan, I was still quietly fancying our chances because I know that the further she goes the better she goes, when suddenly the race changed; Deshan ducked out at the wing of the hurdle and his jockey, Mr B Gibbs did a miraculous job to stay on. Golly was left in front for the first time in her life and she gawped at the crowd and nearly pulled herself up!
Mr Gibbs gets full marks for effort because he not only stayed on but rallied his mount and was closing on us fast as the post loomed. Thankfully, Golly heard him just in time and quickened away to win by 1 1/4 lengths.
Phew, that was quite enough excitement for one race but we were all delighted by, not only the result, but the way that she had settled and then stuck to the task in difficult circumstances. Plenty said we were lucky and there is no doubt that we were helped by the erratic swerve of Deshan but we proved that there was petrol left in the tank by quickening at the end and it was a very pleasing first victory for an unfurnished filly who loves to jump.
All in all it was a good day enjoyed by everyone!