Conservative politician wins charity race at Newmarket

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A Conservative politician – who had never ridden in a race before – won Newmarket’s one-mile charity race on Saturday (18 August).

West Suffolk’s Member of Parliament Matthew Hancock rode Dick Doughtywylie – trained by John Gosden – in the Blue Square Cavalry Charge.

The race was the main feature of Saturday’s Horsemen and Heroes Day, in aid of Racing Welfare and The Household Cavalry Operational Casualties Fund. Nearly £100,000 was raised in total for the charities.

“Three months ago I needed to lose two stone, get fit and learn how to handle a racehorse,” said Mr Hancock.

“I’ve had a huge amount of help, most of all from the stable staff of the yards that I’ve ridden out for – they were brilliant.”

Mr Hancock prepared for his racing debut at the British Racing School and with the help of Newmarket trainers Michael Bell and John Gosden.

He won the race by two lengths, with ex-jockey Niall Hannity on Advanced in second and Racing Welfare officer Marianne Dacombe on Grecian Goddess in third.

Newmarket’s director of racing Michael Prosser was impressed with the MP’s performance.

“With half a furlong to go he didn’t flap, he just continued to drive with his hands and heels,” he said.

“It was not the performance you would expect to see from someone in their first ever race.”