Monday 19th of August 2019
Rachael Green

Not so high fashion stakes at Cheltenham Festival

“The Cheltenham Festival starts in just over a week’s time and is a spectacle in every sense, from the horse racing to the social side and I love everything about it.

 

Lily Waugh

Lily Waugh

 

We are likely to have a couple of runners this year. Lily Waugh, a horse I adore, had her final prep run at Doncaster on January 30 in the grade two OLBG.com Mares’ Hurdle run over two miles and half a furlong.

She had a couple of options but Anthony was keen to run her over a shorter trip as the ground was testing and he didn’t want her to have a tough race. She ran very well to finish a running on second which was the perfect preparation. She’d won her three previous races, the last being the OLBG.com mares race at Cheltenham and we now have a fresh horse to go back there.

We gave her a good break after Cheltenham and she’s now cantering and building up to her race.  She won’t leave our yard and will finish her preparations on our gallops at home and we’ll jump her on our good surface in the school. She’s very clever and she knows what she’s doing so we’ll keep her fresh and let her enjoy having a pop around the school. She loves it and it’s a bit of extra fitness work for her too. David Noonan has a good association with her and if he’s available he’ll ride. He knows her really well and we wouldn’t want to change jockeys now.

As a broodmare she has nothing to prove so she might retire after the Festival. She’ll be more than likely be put in foal and sold. A syndicate of six including my mum and dad, Jo and Malcolm, own her. They’ve always had horses and had a lot of fun, but Lily Waugh has been very special and after losing a horse due to an injury sustained on the racecourse we advised them to buy a share in Lily. Myself and Anthony bought her from the sales at Newbury after winning her only start in an Irish point to point. She’s by the great sire Kings Theatre. Her half-brother  Killultagh Vic has done extremely well, winning the Martin Pipe last year at the Festival and a grade one at Punchestown later.

Rachael Green

Regal Encore will go in a two and a half mile or three-mile handicap chase, depending on the ground. He’s fine and we’re just stepping up his work. He’s slightly ahead of Lily Waugh in terms of his fitness but unlike Lilly he will have a trip away from the yard and pop over to Lambourn where he will have a school over the fences and do a piece of work hopefully with Barry Geraghty on board.

Regal means an awful lot to both myself and Anthony and is another horse we purchased as an unbroken three-year-old. He’s the first horse we sold to JP McManus after I won his bumper on him at Southwell. I have ridden him every day for many seasons now and his preparation is going well, although he needs to improve from his previous runs.

We’re just hoping the better ground might produce an improved performance, as he’s disappointed on his last two runs on ground he doesn’t like. With the wet winter, we’ve been left with few options.

I’ve been lucky enough to have ridden in the Foxhunters at the Festival once on a horse called Patches for owner Paul Barber and trainer Richard Barber. He sadly fell at the ninth fence and he was well fancied at the time. It was such a shame and something that I will regret for the rest of my life but it was an incredible experience.

I’ve also ridden in the Fred Winter too finishing seventh of 24, beaten ten and a quarter lengths, and it was such a buzz. All the horses grow a hand in the paddock. Everyone is a bit on edge and the atmosphere is electric, but once you are down at the start you get in to the zone and you block out the crowds.

I’d recommend to everyone to experience Cheltenham. Get there really early, enjoy breakfast, have a Guinness or a bottle of champagne and savour the atmosphere. Don’t be in a rush and enjoy every single minute as there is really nothing like it.

Rachael on the right

We’ve always been involved behind the scenes so are lucky to enjoy the incredible owners’ facilities. I make sure I have time to have a wonder around the tented village first thing before the day’s work starts, while Anthony will meet up with a few friends in the Guinness bar.

It’s not often we go just for a social day out as being so hands on in the yard means I am riding out all morning and it is hard to find the time to get away. Over the last few years we have had runners at the meeting so I would rather be at home making sure the preparations are going to plan. The coverage on TV is so good anyway and we really enjoy watching that as you see everything, from the interviews to the stable tours to the actual race.

This year, our first baby will be due three weeks later but I am planning to go with our runners as they mean a lot to me, although I will take it day by day and see how I am feeling! I am not sure I will score very highly in the fashion stakes.

Unfortunately the suits and dresses made by my seamstress and good friend Elaine Miller that I usually wear at such events don’t quite fit at the moment but luckily Elaine made a dress for me when I was in my early stages of pregnancy to collect my National trainer point-to-point award and miraculously it still fits.

My favourite coat, also made by Elaine, will be worn even if it does not quite meet in the middle. With a few faux fur accessories and hat, I will be good to go!! If all else fails my very close friend Carey Buckler, who is the Regional Partnership Manager at Cheltenham, has promised to let me raid her wardrobe before hand!”

Rachael Green

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