An amateur rider who completed an incredible comeback from cancer by winning the Newmarket Town Plate on Saturday now aims to defend her title as a 50-year-old.
Rachel Rennie had plans to ride the world's oldest and longest flat horse race in 2016, but missed the event after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
But after surgery and 28 rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Rennie fulfilled a dream by partnering Martin Smith's Friends Don't Ask to an emotional victory, coming home by a length from Stripe of Honour..
"I’m just amazed I managed to get back from cancer and get fit," said the 49-year-old. "I’m fitter than I thought I was, as that was a major worry.
"I’m just glad to be here to do it and maybe I’ll be here again next year to do it. There was a little bit of me thinking back to five years ago as this was the culmination of the getting back progress. It was the one thing I didn’t get to do then that I have now.
“It is great. I could hear people shouting at me which I didn’t think I would be able to with the crowd that was here."
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And Rennie added she has not ruled out taking out an amateur licence.
“It is slightly tempting to go for the amateur licence as I’ve got a couple of horses I could ride in flat races. It is just a case of it being a full-time effort rather than just a three-month effort.
“It has to definitely be one of the highlights of my life. Although I said I’m competitive I’ve never done loads of competitive things apart from horse-based stuff so to do something that is a bit more than your local show is good. The whole thing has been very special.”
The race, first staged in 1666, is staged over three miles and six furlongs and as is tradition, Rennie received a pack of sausages for winning it. She also joked about her enhancing her new found fame.
"The yard had the eyes on the prize of the sausages and they wouldn’t have been happy with anything else!" she said.
“"I’ve had people shouting at me across the gallops in Newmarket all week. The reaction to this has been great.
"I was on Radio Suffolk in the morning before the race, so I might have another invite back on there on Monday morning.”
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