Margot Scudamore, daughter of jump jockey Tom, had no idea a letter she penned out of frustration to Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the likelihood of missing her beloved Kingswell Theatre running at the Cheltenham Festival would cause so much fuss.
Margot, 14, is a budding jump jockey and has ridden Kingswell Theatre at the stables of her uncle, Michael Scudamore.
She had been looking forward to seeing the 12-year-old team up with her father in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, albeit on television, but news that the Government has scheduled a return to school on March 8 – the week before the Festival – came as a blow to her hopes.
In her letter, Margot asked the Prime Minister to delay the return by two weeks or allow schools to show the racing on television.
Margot is currently home schooling and her father came across the letter when going through her work. He posted the letter on social media, causing plenty of feedback.
She said: “I’d had a bad day and heard the news that we were going back to school the week before Cheltenham. My godmother asked me what I was going to do about it and I said I was going to write a letter.
“I just wanted to get it all out on paper. I had no idea it would get this big.
“From just being on Twitter and having 30-odd comments, it went to being in the ‘paper.
“I probably won’t be able to go to Cheltenham, so I’ll have my phone under the table.
“All my friends are interested in racing. It’s a great sport because you don’t have to be horsey to be involved. I’ll be back at school on March 8 by look of things, but I don’t think anyone really knows.”
She has ambitions to be a jockey, which comes as no surprise for she is part of the famous Scudamore dynasty. Her great grandfather Michael won the Grand National on Oxo in 1959, her grandfather Peter was champion jump jockey eight times, her father Tom is a leading jump jockey and her uncle Michael a successful jumps trainer.
“I’m not into any education. I’m all into my riding and stuff,” she said.
“I’ve been riding out for almost three years now. I remember I went to Warwick with my dad, I had my bag with me so I decided to go to my uncle’s. The following morning I saw on the board I was down to ride Kingswell Theatre. It was amazing as he had won at Cheltenham not long before.
“He’s been the only one I’ve ever wanted to ride. I’d like to ride him a lot more. He’s very special.
“I ride him every time I go up there. I used to go every other weekend and spend a couple of weeks there in the summer.
“It’s pretty good experience and I’d like to be a conditional jockey for my uncle when I get older.
“Dad wants me to get all my school work done and then do that afterwards hopefully. I would like to go to equine college.”
Margot is already a winner on her brief foray so far on the pony circuit.
“I’ve been able to get on the pony circuit recently, but that has come to a halt at the moment,” she said.
“I only had a couple of rides, but I had a winner on my second ride. My dad’s been a massive help and I’m just waiting for the season to hopefully kickstart again.
“It’s so cool to be involved with a horse like him (Kingswell Theatre). I hope he doesn’t retire yet. He’s still got a lot of life left in him – and so has dad. They both have.”
Her father said: “People seem to have enjoyed it, more so than her! It’s caused a bit of mirth. I’m hoping she gets a zoom call with the Prime Minister!
“She’s home schooling. I was going through her homework and came across the letter along with everything else.”