Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning owner Dido Harding enjoyed victory from a different angle today (3 August) as she took top honours in Goodwood’s Magnolia Cup.
Dido has finished runner-up in the charity race for the previous two years and has ridden in all bar one of the seven races. However her persistence paid off as she piloted the Scott Dixon-trained Ducks And Dumplings to a decisive win in this year’s race.
In second by five lengths was racing broadcaster Aly Vance on The Winning Lines, with hat designer Emily Baxendale on Gideon Up in third.
“I’ve been saying I had to keep doing it until I won, but retiring now would be very hard — we’ll have to see,” said Dido, whose daughters Emma and Becca were there to watch.
“The horse I rode is a miler and likes soft ground, and it’s quite soft out there so he gave me a great feel from start to finish. I can dream of coming back.”
Dido, who was chief executive of Talk Talk until May this year, admitted afterwards she has only been on a horse about “two or three times” in the past six weeks.
The former amateur jockey finished runner-up in the 1996 Foxhunter chase at the Cheltenham Festival with Cool Dawn. Two years later the gelding won the Gold Cup at the festival under Andrew Thornton.
“There is nothing like the adrenalin of riding them yourself, and I’ve often wondered what it would have been like had I kept the ride on the old horse [in the Gold Cup],” she added.
“It was a complete fairytale to win at Cheltenham and I wouldn’t give it up, but if I only had one day left my wish would be to race-ride again.
“We might go to the pub later for a little celebration, nothing more exciting than that.”
Last year’s winner, four-star eventer Izzy Taylor, finished 10th.
“Sadly, we couldn’t finish first this year, Cape Of Storms really didn’t like the ground,” said Izzy. “But it was a great race and hopefully we have raised loads of money.”
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Olympic sailing gold medallist Sarah Ayton is hooked on horses after her ride.
Sarah faced her fear of riding to take up the sport in December and finished seventh aboard the Amanda Perrett-trained Stable Returns.
“I loved the ride. It is quite hard work. You can’t really train for it other than actually doing it,” she said.
“I tried to think about the start — though I didn’t really get the best start.
“I will go back to the drawing board, look at the start, analyse it, and start better next time.
“I am planning to continue riding, I am loving race riding.”
The Magnolia Cup, which first ran in 2011, is for inspirational women from a variety of backgrounds and industries, some with little or no experience of racing.
Bespoke silks are designed especially for the occasion and money raised goes to charity, this year Place2Be, which provides emotional and therapeutic services in primary and secondary schools.
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