Georgia King enjoyed a moment to savour after making her first ride on a racecourse a triumphant one aboard Sula Island in the Pertemps Champions Willberry Charity Derby at Epsom on Monday.
The 16-year-old showed no sign of nerves aboard the daughter of Sulamani – who is trained by her father, top jumps and leading dual-purpose handler Alan King – as they ran out an emphatic winner of the mile-and-a-half contest.
Having gradually worked the four-year-old mare into contention, the teenager picked off early leader Battalion inside the final quarter of a mile, before quickening clear and taking victory by five lengths.
She said: “It was amazing. It was over so quickly, like everyone told me it would be.
“My arms were dead coming in and I think I got there a bit soon, as dad said not to go before the one (furlong marker), but she was going and cruising and I just kept going.
“I slept on the way here. Over lunch I was fine in the weighing room and everyone was really nice. I saw her in the parade ring and she was a bit on her toes. I came off her down the chute as she got revved up and reared up.
“Going down she was a bit keen and at the start she was difficult, but once we got going it was good.”
She added: “I only found out two weeks ago I was going to do it. I’ve been riding out all this year, but I was still like ‘oh God will I be ready?’, but it was amazing.
“There was four stone in the saddle, that is why dad carried it as I couldn’t lift it.
“As I’ve only had the two weeks, I’ve only raised about £700 – I need to hit my £1,000 target, so I need a few generous people in the yard to come forward.
“I’d like to get my amateur licence now so I am riding next summer.”
While her father has many of National Hunt racing’s greatest prizes on his CV, including the Champion Hurdle and Queen Mother Champion Chase, he ranked this victory among the best of them.
He said: “It was one of the most nerve-wracking wins. It has been a long afternoon. She has given her a lovely ride, she didn’t panic and has been so laid back.
“It is great. I’m very proud and delighted – it is something special. She is going to go back and do her A Levels, but the plan would be to get her lady amateur licence next season and go from there.”
All money raised from the race is to be split between the Bob Champion Cancer Charity Trust and Hannah Willberry Wonder Pony Charity.
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