Old Berks’ huntsman Michael Scott was the first past the post in Sunday’s (18 April) Countryside Alliance Race for Repeal at Ascot racecourse.
Eleven professional huntsmen from around the country took part in the race, which was over seven furlongs.
“It was one of the highlights of my life,” said Michael who was riding the Eve Johnson Houghton-trained Roodolph.
“It was brilliant — the experience of a lifetime.
“I couldn’t have wished for a better horse and it was an amazing feeling being cheered into the winner’s enclosure. Roodolph was an absolute gentleman and I’m so pleased for all his connections and all our supporters.”
Second was the Duke of Beaufort’s Tony Holdsworth, who lost an impressive three stones to ride Trade Centre in the race.
In third was Richard Down from the Quantock Staghounds on CeePeeGee and fourth was Mick Wills from the Grafton on Talenti.
“I must give credit to all the other jockeys too — especially some who had to lose a tremendous amount of weight to race. I had to carry a stone in lead!”
Michael has been in training for the race since January and has been riding out twice a week at Eve Johnson Houghton’s yard.
“It was drummed into me not to be left behind at the start as there’s no going back once they’re off. I got a good start and jumped off well and was under instructions not to push it until I was two furlongs from home. Roodolph was a real trier, he stuck his head out at the end and didn’t want to get beaten.
“It was a completely new experience for me, the shortness of the stirrups was the biggest transition to get used to. And also the speed of Thoroughbreds — it was the fastest I’ve ever been on a horse.”
The horse, which is owned by the Eden Racing Syndicate, hadn’t had a run in 18 months and was quite a handful in the paddock.
“He was a totally different horse to what he’s like at home, he was absolutely full of it, the head lad did a great job of calming both me and the horse down!”
Johnnie Arkwright, who led the organising committee said: “The Race for Repeal was the jewel in the crown at what was a fantastic day at Ascot. Well done to Michael Scott for victory and hopefully he will not have to wait too long for the next major victory, which will of course be the repeal of the Hunting Act.
More than 14,000 people passed through the gates at Ascot.
“The day raised tens of thousands of pounds for our campaigns and we have to thank everyone involved, especially Ascot Racecourse, for their support.” added Mr Arkwright.