By Tim Montgomerie
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As part of my dedication to cover all things Conservative I went to Newmarket on Saturday to watch West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock ride in a charity horse race. Matt has certainly taken the challenge seriously, exercising for two hours per day in the last fortnight and losing more than two stones in weight over the last ten weeks. His friends told me that they'd been away on holiday with him, in France, and he'd resisted all win and cheese throughout. His reward came just after 5.35pm on Saturday when he won his charity race by a good few lengths. As well as a number of people who'd ridden before one of the other riders was actor Nathaniel Parker, who is the star of the Inspector Lynley Mysteries. Here is the Eastern Daily Press' report.
Newmarket and his Suffolk seat is a big centre of the racing industry and Matt will have won a lot of admirers with his enterprise. In addition to oodles of good publicity and street cred it's deepened his understanding of an important local industry.
Not only did Matt win his race he also hit his £10,000 fundraising target. It's not too late to add your donation and help Racing Welfare and the Household Cavalry Operational Casualties Fund.
Local MPs, Therese Coffey, George Freeman and Ben Gummer joined Matt for the occasion and all put some money on their colleague. I was too polite to ask what they were going to do with their winnings.
Here's a post-victory interview that includes coverage of the race and ends with remarks from Therese, George and Ben.