Businesswoman Katie Forrest steered the George Baker-trained Hurricane Harry to success in this year’s Magnolia Cup at the Qatar Goodwood Festival, raising vital funds for Cancer Research UK.
It has been a “whirlwind” few months for the design agency managing director, who stepped up to the challenge in May when one rider dropped out.
The Swarovski-sponsored charity race runs over five furlongs and involves a field of inspirational ladies donning silks and breeches to battle it out for the Magnolia Cup title.
“I begged to do this race in March, but the riders had already been selected,” said Katie. “Then one dropped out in May and I got my chance to take part. Since then it has been a whirlwind to get ready for this, but it’s been worth it.
“I can’t even put my feelings into words. Mick Fitzgerald said winning [the Grand National] was better than sex and it really is.”
It was also a personal journey for Surrey-based Katie because her father Tim is undergoing treatment for cancer. Both her parents were at Goodwood to watch their daughter walk into the winner’s enclosure.
“It will be a big boost for my dad and I’ve raised £10,000 to do this, so to win it as well is insane. I owe it all to George Baker and his team, and Harry Hurricane literally carried me home — I didn’t have a clue what I was doing half the time.”
She added: “I got a good start, but the Bakers drilled it into me saying: ‘Nail the start and you will be halfway there’. I got to about a furlong out and thought ‘I don’t know where everyone else is but I’m going to keep going.’ By then my legs had gone and I was wobbling, but the horse kept going and is a legend.”
The four-star rider was among ladies competing for the charity Magnolia Cup
The Cheltenham Festival Gold Cup-winning owner rode to victory in the Goodwood charity race for inspirational women
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Candida Baker, the wife of the winning trainer, said: “Katie has been riding out for us for some months, but she only had six weeks’ preparation for this. We’ve had this horse for a long time and he’s part of the family — Katie proved to us that she was good enough to ride him.
“He’s a strong horse at home and not an easy ride, but towards the end she really got to grips with him. Two weeks ago, I said she could ride him here and she burst into tears — so then I burst into tears.”
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