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Horse owned by Deal couple Alex and Janet Card wins Ebor Handicap race

By Eleanor Perkins

A Deal family are celebrating a big cash win after their horse clinched victory in the most valuable handicap race in Europe.

Alex and Janet Card, both 73, of Granville Street, bought six-year-old Nakeeta, who is trained and cared for by Iain Jardine in Dumfries, Scotland, three years ago.

He crossed the finishing line to win by a head at the BetFred Ebor Handicap at York, claiming his first win since September 2015 and bringing in a first prize of £177,000.

Nakeeta in the winner’s enclosure after his victory

Nakeeta in the winner’s enclosure after his victory

Mr and Mrs Card, who are also owners of family firm J&R Carpets, in Marlbrough Road, say they never dreamt of a win so big.

Mr Card said: “In horse racing, all you can hope is that you get enough return from second and third prizes to help with the overheads but to win what this little lad has won is unbelievable.

“It still hasn’t sunk in. It’s a dream come true.”

In what was a tense race Nakeeta – ridden by 20-year-old apprentice jockey Callum Rodriguez – remained at the back all the way until he approached the home straight during Saturday's race.

Mr Card said: “From the home straight he started moving forward. We all had our hearts in our mouths.

“At about two furlongs to go, it seemed like he had a wall of horses in front of him.

The victory led to champagne celebrations for the family

The victory led to champagne celebrations for the family

“He couldn’t get through on one side so he moved over and a gap opened up.

“It was a battle to the finish line and he won by a head!”

With 12-1 odds, the family were delighted that he beat 7-1 favourite Flymetothestars.

“We were speechless, excited and overjoyed,” Mr Card added.

The couple attended the races with their son Julian, his partner Jennie Amos and other family and friends.

"At about two furlongs to go, it seemed like he had a wall of horses in front of him" - Alex Card

They celebrated with champagne at their hotel and a meal out.

They say they will now discuss the future of the horse which has already been given entry to a race in Naas in Ireland, St Leger in Germany and the Melbourne Cup in Australia.

Mr and Mrs Card were introduced to the sport 12 years ago when they found they had a little more time on their hands.

Mr Card said: “My cousin, who lives in Scotland, said 'Why don't you take on a horse Alex, you can have a bit of fun' and that was it.”

They own four horses, two which are racing and two which are in training.

They had another which retired last year.

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