A special reunion
A charity race might not be an official race and it might not have any prize money, but we're still very excited about Roy Rocket's participation in the Air Ambulance Charity Race at Warwick today.
This will be a special reunion. Vince Smith rode John's first winner as an owner (Witchway North, trained in this stable by Hugh Collingridge to win a selling hurdle at Fontwell in February 1994 at 50/1, narrowly beating the Martin Pipe-trained 5/4 favourite Nanquidno, ridden by Vince's good friend Richard Dunwoody). Remarkably Vince rode another 50/1 winner three years later: Supreme Illusion, owned and trained by John, in a claiming hurdle at Plumpton.
Vince Smith is now Victoria Smith, and the old team will be reunited at Warwick. When it became clear that Victoria, having previously ridden approximately 250 winners as a man, was keen to get on the score-board as a woman, John was keen to help if possible. Happily, Roy Rocket's owner Larry McCarthy is also very supportive of the project, and Roy should give Victoria a good ride on this special occasion. The pair of them (pictured above) have got to know each other well over the last few months with Victoria coming in to ride Roy out on a regular basis.
And after that for Roy? Back to Brighton, of course!