We all love the excitement of the Cheltenham Festival at Newlands - and it’s so near to us that, in normal years, some of us would be there in person too.
But bet you didn’t know this! We actually have an even closer racing connection.
Our amazing Newlands concierge, Sue Bellamy, has not just one but two successful jockey sons.
Her eldest son Tom, has certainly had a landmark year. He’s celebrating over 100 winners since his first win at Cheltenham on Swing Bill at the age of sixteen. It’s some record. This season alone he’s ridden over thirty winners.
Sue said, “He had two rides yesterday at Cheltenham and it’s an eerie experience with no people and no-one cheering. The horses detect the atmosphere or lack of it. When they hear the noise of the crowd it really excites them. And you have to have a good, engaged horse under you!”
Her younger son 23-year old Archie has raced in Australia and while now back here has yet to star at Cheltenham. But as Sue says, “He has it to be in the running in the future. It’s in the blood.”
There’s no doubt that Sue can rightly boast about having horse racing in the blood! Her mother, Tricia worked in racing. Sue’s father, Ray Quin, rode a Cheltenham Festival winner back in the early seventies. It’s hardly surprising that Sue herself also rode for a while and then married a professional jockey! Her two sons started their love of racing by competing at local pony clubs before graduating to the serious career of being jockeys at all the famous courses.
“It’s always been their dream job,” says Sue, “I even have a picture somewhere of Tom when he was just three weeks old wearing racing googles. You naturally worry because there are dark days when jockeys get injured and break bones, but days like the one in the photo make it all worthwhile. There are physios available at every race meeting and there’s an injured jockeys charity who fund a superb rehab centre called Oaksey House in Lambourn to help with recovery.”
With such a racing pedigree behind them, we’ll be cheering on our Team Newlands jockeys all the way. Here’s to their continued success!