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My Racing Story

My Racing Story

Laura Ward

Laura pictured after partnering Mary's Pride to victory at Fairyhouse
© Photo Healy Racing

It was an unbelievable feeling to win on my very first ride on a racecourse at the local track in Fairyhouse on Tuesday and to do it on Mary’s Pride.

It was very sentimental for me as the horse was named after my mother, who passed away three years ago. She loved horses, loved going racing. She would feed them and even bless them in Holy Water.

My uncle, Vincent owns and trains Mary’s Pride. He bought him for me to ride so it was a special day for all the family.

I have been on him since day one, from when he was broken. Only a handful of people have ridden him, only when I wasn’t able to. You do build a relationship like that, especially when you gel so well. You ask him to do something, he’ll do it for you. He’s very trusting.

Obviously, there is a very sentimental thing there with the horse being named after my mum but I do think he is a very special horse and he showed that. No matter what happens, if we do end up selling him or keeping him, he’s not a horse I’m going to forget for a long time.

The race itself was incredible. When we came around into the straight, I got my gap and moved out. I asked him and he was responding. Then I had a moment of panic, of fear, because I thought, ‘Oh my God I can win this but I’m not going to because I don’t have enough time.’ I didn’t have enough grass left. I had so much horse underneath me but I thought I wouldn’t get there because I’d left it too late.

I gave him a slap behind, then pulled my whip through to my right and gave him two slaps on the shoulder and he just took off.

I remember looking to my right to see where all the lads were because I was coming down wide on the outside and they were all on my inside. By the time I turned back looking through his ears, he had just gone on three or four more strides and was tearing away even further.

There were so many emotions. It’s not something you think is going to happen. Even during the race you’re thinking, ‘This is surreal. Is he actually going to get there?’

We have always enjoyed horses in our family. I ride out at home and have ridden work for Lorna Fowler as well, and she has been a great help.

To ride a winner on your first ride is just unbelievable and for it to be with Mary’s Pride was perfect.

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