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Gosden-Hood and Crawford all smiles after Magnolia dead heat

Thea Gosden-Hood and Candida Crawford shared the honours as they dead-heated in the Magnolia Cup at Goodwood.

The charity contest, run in support of Smart Works this year, featured 10 female amateur riders – including Gosden-Hood, daughter of trainer John Gosden, Frankie Dettori’s daughter Ella, sports presenter Rachel Stringer and dressage rider Tatiana Mountbatten.

Gosden-Hood endured a testing start on her racecourse debut as her mount, She Got The Jockey – who is better known as the Roger Varian-trained Batraan – unshipped her on the way to the post.

However, the pair were reunited and bowled along in front before Crawford, who is described as a freelance rider, produced her mount Mine Behind – aka Jamie Osborne’s Good Earth – to challenge inside the final furlong.

Crawford reeled in Gosden-Hood, and the pair flashed past the post together, with the judge unable to separate them.

Gosden-Hood said: “Coming from a racing family, I think there’s a misconception that I’ve been riding all my life, but I haven’t sat on a horse for 15 years, let alone a racehorse.

“I was literally starting from scratch. I had to go to a riding school to learn how to trot, so it’s been a long journey.

“I’d really like to thank everyone at Clarehaven (father and brother Thady’s yard in Newmarket) – I was honestly such a nuisance. They’ve taught me absolutely everything, and everyone has just been so kind and so supportive.”

Thea Gosden-Hood with her mother Rachel Hood (
Thea Gosden-Hood with her mother Rachel Hood (John Walton/PA)

Gosden-Hood hailed the result as a “dream”, although she felt her pre-race troubles might have taken their toll.

She said: “I had quite a tricky time on the way down – so to be honest, it all is a bit of a blur.

“I don’t think we could get a better result unless all 10 of us finished in a line – it’s just a dream.

“I’m thrilled with the result but I’m already looking back and thinking ‘I rode so badly!’. I had a tricky time on the way down – and after that, I think the adrenaline just got to me.

“I never checked who was around me or changed my hands, like we practised.”

Candida Crawford (left) and Thea Gosden-Hood celebrate at Goodwood
Candida Crawford (left) and Thea Gosden-Hood celebrate at Goodwood (John Walton/PA)

Crawford paid tribute to both her mount and trainer Osborne, as well as his daughter Saffie – who is cutting a swathe through the apprentice ranks and has partnered the gelding to three wins already this year.

She said: “It all went so fast – it was just amazing.

“I couldn’t have done it without that horse. He knew exactly what he was doing, and I just sat there and piloted.

“I was holding him, and we started quite fast. I knew that Good Earth (Mine Behind) was a good horse, so I pushed him as soon as I could.

“We’d practised a bit at Jamie’s (Osborne), and he was just phenomenal, and Saffie Osborne kindly gave me some advice on how to ride him – so I was very lucky.

“I thought I was going to be sick. He came out in the paddock, and I just thought ‘what am I doing?’, but he behaved all the way down to the start.”

Crawford admitted it had been a “manic” period preparing for the race, but she was thrilled with the outcome.

She added: “To be up close to Thea was amazing – let alone so near to her. It was a dream come true.

“It’s been manic, it’s been busy, but I’ve had an incredible trainer in Jamie Osborne who has let me come and ride out for him.

“It’s been worth everything, and to have such a nice horse that Jamie kindly gave me to ride.”

Ella Dettori to take part in Magnolia Cup at Goodwood

Ella Dettori is one of 12 women set to contest the Magnolia Cup at Goodwood this year.

The charity race over five and a half furlongs will be celebrating its 10th anniversary on July 29 and will be run in support of UK charity Smart Works, which assists unemployed women to harness their confidence ahead of a job interview.

Bella Freud will be designing the jockey silks for the event, which is backed by Markel.

Kate Stephens, Smart Works CEO, said: “Smart Works and Goodwood share a mission to support and empower women across the UK. That is why we’re honoured to have been chosen as the 2021 Magnolia Cup charity partner.

“In the last year the number of women facing unemployment has risen sharply and Smart Works has never been more needed. Funding for our service will help women across the UK find the confidence to succeed at a crucial moment, get the job and transform their lives.

“We’re grateful to Goodwood and the Duke of Richmond for giving us this opportunity and enabling us to reach more women with our service.”

Dettori, daughter of the world-renowned Frankie Dettori, is one of the dozen riders set to be in action on the Sussex Downs, with Thea Gosden-Hood, daughter of Dettori’s long-time retained trainer John Gosden, also in the line-up.

The Magnolia Cup has raised over £1.6 million and captured the public’s imagination when last contested in 2019, as 18-year-old Khadijah Mellah triumphed having learnt to ride at the Ebony Horse Club, which aims to transform young lives through horses in south London’s most disadvantaged communities.