It nearly didn’t happen but, after over 20 years of waiting, Pertemps chairman Tim Watts finally landed glory at the Cheltenham Festival.
Or should that be his wife June? It was her horse Mohaayed that romped to victory by ten lengths in the Randox Health County Hurdle. It was a win that very few saw coming with unconsidered odds of 33-1 being offered before the race began.
It seemed even more unlikely when the heavens opened with trainer Dan Skelton so concerned by conditions that he nearly didn’t run him.
He said: “I really fancied the horse three weeks ago, but it kept on raining and it’s down to his owner June that he ran. If I’d had my way I’d probably have pulled him out.”
It was a victory that was celebrated late into the night by the Watts family. Long-time horse racing aficionado Tim Watts has owned several horses that have competed in the nation’s favourite racing finals at Cheltenham, but none had ever been first-past-the-post until Mohaayed.
Race-goers were moved by the sight of Harry Skelton pulling up alongside his partner, winning jockey Bridget Andrews, for a congratulatory embrace and kiss.
Tim Watts said: “Everybody wrote him off and even the training team were convinced he shouldn’t run. In my mind, there was never any question that this would be our year. I’ve been going to Cheltenham for over 25 years but have never enjoyed it as much as I did this time around. I’m sure that everyone who backed him at the bookies was celebrating just as much as we were!”