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Hood in running to be Newmarket MP

RACHEL HOOD, wife of trainer John Gosden, is hoping to fly the flag for Newmarket and put racing at the heart of British politics after putting herself in the running to become the town’s next local MP.

A qualified barrister and chair of the Save Historic Newmarket Action Group (SHNAG), Hood is thought to be the only racing insider among more than150 aspiring national politicians from
across the UK to have applied to fight the West Suffolk seat, that includes Newmarket, for the Conservatives at the general election, which could be called as soon as March.

Her ambitions now hang on making the shortlist of six – three men and three women, along with a reserve from each sex – that will be announced on Wednesday evening after being drawn up by the executive committee of the West Suffolk Conservative Association, and from whom the party’s candidate will be chosen for what is widely regarded as a Tory stronghold.

Rachel Hood

Rachel Hood: ambitious

  PICTURE: Dan Abraham  

The prospective candidates will get the opportunity to rally support before the final selection process is conducted under an open primary system, in which everybody on the electoral roll is eligible to vote.

Hood has been a leading light in the campaign against Lord Derby’s controversial Hatchfield Farm development, Hood in the running to be Newmarket’s next local MP which has at its core a plan for 1,200 new homes in Newmarket.

She is also vice-president of the Racehorse Owners’ Association, a trustee of the Animal Health Trust, and director of both the Horsemen’s Group and Racing Enterprises Limited.

Newmarket’s racing community was taken by surprise when Richard Spring, who has represented the constituency since 1992 and helped the sport fight a number of issues over the years, announced in November that he intended standing down from Parliament.

The names of those who have thrown their hats in the ring to succeed him have been kept secret.

Hood had hoped to keep her interest in filling the vacancy
under wraps at this stage, but when contacted by the Racing Post she admitted: “Yes, I have been put on the long list.”

Hood, a racehorse owner for 18 years, said: “It is important racing is represented in the House of Commons and that is one
of the reasons why I have done it, and also with all the ongoing [local] difficulties, but obviously one has to have a broader
perspective and it is probably not helpful if one is portrayed too much in a narrow perspective.

“This is very new, as it were, because after Richard Springannounced he wasn’t going to stand there was only a short
period of time in which to take a decision with my friends to try to get on the long list. But [fellow SHNAG member] Fiona
Unwin and Iare both on the long list and I guess we will see after January 6 [when the shortlist is made public] where things are then.

“This is a decision I took based on the unexpected news that Richard Spring wasn’t going to be standing, because I thought it was important that Newmarket and the surrounding area has a local representative.

“I’ve lived in Newmarket, on and off, for 20 years. My father grew up in Suffolk, as did my grandparents. I am passionate
about the area and that’s really why I took the decision and I thought, ‘let’s give it a go’.”

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