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Race named after Tobefair at Ffos Las on Easter Sunday.

Race named after Tobefair at Ffos Las on Easter Sunday.

Tobefair, the best horse to be trained in Carmarthenshire for many a long year, will have a race named after him at Ffos Las on Easter Sunday.

 

The ‘Congratulations Tobefair Handicap Chase’ will be run in honour of a horse who has proved that in jump racing humble beginnings don’t necessarily prevent you from playing, and winning, in the big league.

 

He’s nine years old now.  As a foal he had been given to Michael Cole, a retired farmer, as a present.  When it came to putting him into training Cole ruefully accepted that he couldn’t afford it in full.  Fortunately he found a number of people who patronised the Cresselly Arms, at Cresswell Quay in Pembrokeshire, that were prepared to form a syndicate to buy him.  They called themselves the Down The Quay Club.  Many members of the group originally hoped he might win a point-to-point.

 

After six increasingly moderate runs, Tobefair was transferred to the Nantycaws stable of Debra and Paul Hamer, and from there he embarked on an amazing winning streak in three mile handicap hurdles.  He won his first two outings for them in the summer of 2015, but after a victory at Chepstow in September an injury kept him on the sidelines for over a year.

 

At Ffos Las in November 2016 he picked up where he left off with his fourth win in a row. Number five soon followed at Chepstow, and further successes at Warwick and Newbury took the sequence to seven straight wins, to the joy of his owners and the despair of the local bookmakers.  By now the national papers were following his rags-to-riches progress.  According to the handicapper, he had improved by almost four and a half stone by the time he lined up for the Pertemps Final at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.

 

Tobefair finished well behind there, however, and a string of mostly disappointing efforts when tried over hurdles and fences in the next 18 months suggested his best days were behind him.  Then, at Chepstow this February, he ran his best race for a long time to finish second.

 

Emboldened by this greatly improved effort, he was sent to compete in this year’s Pertemps Final and ran a blinder.  He looked like winning after the last flight of hurdles but, agonisingly, he couldn’t quite catch Sire Du Berlais, the gambled-on J P McManus winner, and went down by a neck at 40/1.

 

On Wednesday this week he gained welcome compensation by going to Cheltenham and winning over the same course and distance as the Pertemps Final.  Tobefair hit the front halfway up the run-in and surged ahead to score by five lengths, giving his loyal owners from the Down The Quay Club the day in the sun they so richly deserved.

 

Phil Bell, Executive Director for Ffos Las and Chepstow Racecourses, said:”We are absolutely delighted to name a race after such a wonderful racehorse, who from humble beginnings has given so much pleasure to his owners, his trainer and the nation’s punters.”

Races: 24,

Wins: 8,

Second and third places: 4,

Prize money: £87,701

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