“I am very very lucky”

Connolly's RED MILLS on 02 May 2019
 
Owning a horse that runs and wins at Cheltenham, the home of jump racing, is the stuff of dreams. Claiming back-to-back victories and completing the same feat two years on the trot is unheard of but that’s what owner Anna Reed and trainer Richard Bandey achieved; having won the Connolly’s RED MILLS Intermediate Series Point-to-Point Final in 2017, they successfully defended their title in 2018.
 
Anna has been owning point-to-point horses for over 20 years. Born and raised on the Isle of Wight, she got her first pointer whilst she was a Master of the Isle of Wight Foxhounds; having always wanted to run a horse in the hunt race she decided that doing so whilst being a Master would as good a time as any. He was very successful, and Anna was hooked on pointing from there on in.
 
Her partnership with Richard Bandey started when he was a jockey and rode out for Anna when she had horses with Kate Bucket. When he set up as a trainer, Anna approached Bandey and asked him to look for a horse for her. He found Woodfleet, a 4yo from purchased from the Ascot Sales, who went on to become the Connolly’s RED MILLS Intermediate Series Champion in 2017.
 Woodfleet_RP.JPG
Anna was a bit dubious about heading to Cheltenham with Woodfleet, not thinking he was good enough, but the team thought they would have a go and ‘just have a bit of fun with him’. The then 6yo pulled it out of the bag to win by five lengths and one and a half lengths from Excitable Island (under Gina Andrews) and Far West (Will Biddick).
 
“I just couldn’t believe it really, it was just amazing. It was such an incredible day, I will never forget it. I had been to Cheltenham to watch racing before, but I never would have dreamt I would have had a runner there. After the race we had a lovely time celebrating with the RED MILLS team in their box, before we headed off to get the midnight ferry back to the Isle of Wight!”
 
Reed and Bandey then managed to continue their success the following year, claiming the RED MILLS Champion title with Fortune Bound in 2018. Another horse that Richard had sourced for Anna, this time from Ireland, he was an outside chance at 50/1 before the race. After having a good time the previous year, they thought they would just enjoy the evening and see what happens.
 Fortune-Bound-(Martin-McIntyre)-winning-the-2018-Connolly-s-RED-MILLS-Final-(Ce).JPG
“It was just another fantastic win. It was just incredible, and mind blowing, to have had two such good horses one year after the other. It doesn’t often happen, and I realise I am a very very lucky owner” said Anna.
 
Anna’s currently got four horses with Bandey, two youngsters alongside Woodfleet and Fortune Bound but she did let slip that Woodfleet is her favourite of the bunch. With the season coming to a close, she’s looking forward to having them all back home on the Isle of Wight where they enjoy their summer holidays.
 
The team don’t have a runner in the 2019 final on 3rd May, so won’t be making it three years in a row!
 
Anna’s advice for those with horses entered this year “it’s very surreal, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy every second”.  
 
Filed under: Racing