“I DID it, didn’t I?”
These were the words of Pat Reid, the mother of Caroline Beesley in whose memory the fifth running of her race was staged at Towcester Racecourse on December 21, the whole day raising £10,000 for Cynthia Spencer Hospice.
Pat is fast approaching her 89th birthday and 12 months earlier hadn’t been well enough to attend the day, which is now becoming a regular event in the calendar.
Her conversation had come with Caroline’s widower Mark Beesley, a keen supporter of the Hospice and also the racing correspondent for the Chronicle & Echo. In the build-up to the day, which was staged on Caroline’s birthday, they had discussed who would make the presentation to the winners of Caroline’s race. Pat had initially made the suggestion of performing the ceremony herself, but then had reservations as the enormity and emotion of what it would entail, all dawned upon her...
Still, just as you should never be alone dealing with cancer (and Caroline wasn’t when she spent her last five days at the Hospice in November 2013 before passing away at the end of a long struggle at the age of 47), so Pat could count on the support of a huge bank of friends and family at Towcester.
Not least among the assembled throng was six year-old great granddaughter Sophie Causebrook from Lincolnshire who took centre stage in handing over the trophy to the owners of Triopas, the five year-old gelding trained by Tom Lacey which turned the 16 runner contest into something of a procession by winning the three mile contest by eight lengths from Max Dynamo.
Over 70 Caroline supporters enjoyed Towcester’s finest hospitality in the run up to Christmas which had always been an extra special time in Caroline’s diary, raising the money for the donation.
And perhaps Triopas will become a star of the National Hunt programme, especially as he followed up his victory at Towcester by winning another hurdle race at Catterick just a week later.
“Yes, Pat, you certainly did it. You are a brave lady and your daughter took after you.”