Category Archives: Uncategorised

Tom Weston proves West Midlands Area is the best grounding

Former West Midlands Champion rider Tom Weston is the man to follow under Rules presently, following his third winner from as many runners in October, at Hereford this afternoon. 

Weston, based at Hindlip near Worcester, is among the UK’s youngest trainers to hold a licence, hanging up his boots in 2015. His short career paid excellent dividends: 102 Point-to-Point winners and 9 more in Hunter Chases included a John Corbet Cup at Stratford, and an  Aintree Foxhunters,  alongside highlights like a treble at Didmarton in March 2010. 

Festival fans may well recall Weston’s dramatic fall from the Martin Keighley-trained Benbane Head in the 2015 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir that punctured both lungs. Happily, it didn’t compromise the remainder of the season, but surely precipitated an overdue switch to training.

 As if to prove that training is no picnic, a heady second season with 8 winners from 77 runners was followed by more modest totals, and a complete blank last season. It looks like the Weston yard is making up for lost time, with 3 from 8 runners so far since the resumption. 

 

The second week of October has been good to one of Worcestershire’s other trainers too. Three winners from his last five runners since October 7 indicate there’s plenty of vim in the Richard Newland yard too as the season accelerates, and his tally extends to 22.

The West Midlands area has long been a nursery of young talent for the professional ranks. So who’s on your list to look out for this winter?

 

 

Worcestershire’s Richard Newland proves Big is not always best

Most trainers will tell you there’s no living to be made from training horses, and never was that more so than presently, when Levy funds are largely keeping the racing ship afloat in a spectator-free racing environment. So it’s no surprise that many trainers have other strings to their bow.

The traditional route into the sport is as a farmer, where land and stock management add a natural aptitude for handling animals, even blue-blooded ones. Increasingly, though, our top trainers are professionals, who focus all their energies into making a viable business from training horses. And generally, those professionals have grown large followings of owners in order to deliver a volume business with dozens of horses to run in the yard’s name. 

Just occasionally, the sport throws up a glorious exception, and in Worcestershire’s Richard Newland, we find a throwback of sorts to a very different business model. 

As Worcestershire’s most successful National Hunt trainer, Dr Richard Newland has an unorthodox background. A medicine graduate from Cambridge, he is Chairman of CHS Healthcare, a product of his time as a GP, when he was regularly asked for advice on the choice of care home for elderly relatives. The business manages a network of advisers consulting with families to find the best care suited to their relative. 

In an era when specialism is the norm in career choice, Richard is a refreshing change. What started as a hobby in 2004, when he took out a permit has become  a great deal more. And if the early years were unspectacular, the Newland name soon became one to respect, after a blistering season in 2006-7 when first Overstrand overturned some well known faces in the listed William Hill Hurdle at Sandown in December and again in a valuable handicap at Ascot 2 months later, then Burntoakboy only went and won the Coral Cup at the Festival by a comfortable 3 lengths, when in full command of the race. 

Since then, “trained Dr Richard Newland” has become a regular feature in races at every level, highlighted by Pineau de Re’s victory in the 2014 Crabbies Grand National, Newland’s first ever runner in the race.

Celebrations after the Grand National win

The last 10 years has seen the stable become a regular feature of Winners’ lists, moving from the low twenties in numbers of winners to a personal best of 60 last season, with a prize money haul in excess of £500,000. 

And if this season is unlikely to break any prize money records due the Covid austerity, the winners keep flowing even so. This season’s 18 winners to date include 6 this month, including a double at Britain’s northernmost racecourse, Perth today, to sign off their spectator-less season. 

Gloucestershire bred Sam Twiston-Davies has the pick of the rides, although conditional Charlie Hammond picks up plenty of spares. 

It’s been a while since Worcestershire housed a trainer consistently in the top flight in an increasingly competitive Trainers’ Championship, where a majority of trainers in the top rank have big firepower and deep pockets behind their success. The Newland stable is unlikely to topple the Nicholls and Hendersons of our world, by Richard’s own admission – he doesn’t even have a web site to promote himself –  but if you’re looking for a stable that punches well above its weight, then look no further.

The good doctor will see you now.

What drives a champion to reach the top?

Sport is packed full of amazingly talented athletes, from football players to jockeys, many household names have made their fame from their raw sporting talent that they have shown the world. It’s to the misfortune of those who’ve reached the top in Jump racing that the sport is essentially limited to a following in selected countries in the Northern Hemisphere. Until AP McCoy broke every record there was to break, Jump jockeys could largely go about their lives unhindered by celebrity, but nor did they earn lucrative endorsements either. 

Everyone has their own list of the top sporting achievers in world sport. But amongst those actually performing, one attribute shines like a beacon through all of them – a strength of character that will not permit them to be beaten. At a time when horseracing is examining itself closely with a view to the mental health of its riding constituents, these role models in their own unique ways show a lead to their own contemporaries to keep to the task until victory is secured. 

Even when technique is not always the best, sheer will to win is a more powerful tool to elicit elite performance. Some of the nicest and most elegant sportsmen have often lacked that killer instinct to take them to the very top of the tree.

So, let’s take a look at some of the athletes blessing the sport today, finding out what makes them so popular, famous and talented across the globe, and what drives them to reach hitherto unlimited success.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo

 

When it comes to the most popular sport on the planet – football – there are just a few current players that hold the top spot, such as the one and only Cristiano Ronaldo. With countless achievements for club and country, Ronaldo has made a massive mark on the game with his dedication and skill shining brighter than most, making his mark on the world while playing for Manchester United to now being one, if not the, best player in the world. Playing for the Red Devils, Ronaldo scored 86 goals in 196 appearances, as well as winning three Premier Leagues titles and many other stellar wins.

Ronaldo has continued his career in football by playing for Real Madrid, becoming one of the most expensive players in history when signing with them in 2009. Since playing for them he has scored 390 goals in the  La Liga, making his record the team’s all-time top scorer. He is also the fastest ever player to score 250 official goals, according to Infogol tips, the football analyst web site.

Not only is Ronaldo one of the most accomplished players in the game, but he is also one of the most famous athletes on the planet, being the most followed user on Instagram, with over 128 million followers, which allows him to be among the best paid too through salary, endorsements and so on.

A P McCoy

Our own home-grown champion rode 4,358 winners across 21 seasons racing. Unlike so many of his contemporaries, McCoy by-passed the nursery that is Point-to-Point racing, and graduated to the professional ranks immediately on his arrival in the UK in 1994. In his first British season, he set a record 74 winners to become Champion Conditional Rider. Thereafter, to his retirement in 2015, he was Champion Jockey without a break. 

Whether winning every big race there is, or at a wet Monday at Plumpton, McCoy’s passion to win became his life’s mission. Through unique collaborations with trainers of similar mindset, like Martin Pipe, his appetite for winners at any level is unparalleled, before or since, and he set a standard that others have seen fit to follow. 

By winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award in 2010, he not only became the first jockey ever to win the award, but also shone a light on our sport that other sports achieve much more frequently.

But as McCoy remarked himself, for the 4,358 winners, there were over 14,000 rides that didn’t. This apparent “failure” or fear thereof, is at the heart of every elite athlete’s success; the mindset that one might be remembered for the races you lost, not those you won.

 

Serena Williams

 Not only has Serena Williams made her mark on the game of Tennis with an amazing skill, but she revolutionized women in the game with both her drive and powerful method of play. Serena has won 23 Grand Slam titles, more than any other man or women in the Open Era, overcoming discrimination for her gender and colour.

 

LeBron James

The four-time NBA MVP, LeBron James, made history while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers and being the first player in the team to win the NBA rookie of the year award, also being the youngest player to win this honour – at 20 years old.

LeBron became an instant star and when playing for the Miami Heat, led them to victory in both 2012 and 2013, then Cleveland in 2016 and finally moving to play for the LA Lakers in 2018. Often called ‘King James’ he is the youngest player to reach 30,000 career points, one of many career achievements.

Whilst basketball may achieve a rather lower consciousness over here, being celebrated by 250m Americans makes basketball a contender for the USA’s best followed sport.

 Ben Stokes

Born in 1991, it might seem early to place Stokes in the pantheon on  top performers amid this elite group. However, his exploits last year in the ICC Cricket World Cup and in the Ashes catapulted him to be the top all-rounder in world cricket. He became the highest paid player in the Indian Premier League in 2017, fetching a record £1.7m.

His 156 Test wickets may pale into insignificance beside Muralitheran’s 800+ and Stuart Broad’s recent 500 at Old Trafford, but he has already amassed 7101 runs in 161 tests and ODIs since joining the England team in 2011. He is already well on the way toward being one of England’s most successful all-round cricketers.

Michael Phelps

 Michael Phelps is  the most successful Olympic athlete in the world. The American swimmer holds 23 Olympic gold medals and 13 individual golds, competing in his first at the young age of 15 and competing to be the oldest individual gold medal winner at the age of 28.

So, who’s in your list of all-time greats?

Is it time for Pointing to win TV coverage?

An interesting development in UK Trotting begins this summer, which has interesting implications for Point-to-Point racing. The sport’s governing body, the British Harness Racing Club, which oversees an abridged fixture list of 45 meetings this summer, is undertaking live streaming of races in partnership with a bookmaker. The stream will offer the sport a fresh income stream from betting, hitherto limited to on-course wagering. 

The advantages of screen coverage are legion, whatever your sport. It’s no coincidence that professional Flat & Jump racing stimulates so much media coverage, because television coverage, even through subscription channels like Racing TV or Attheraces, offers a symbiotic relationship with written media in newspapers and the internet. TV exposure stimulates a constant stream of horse racing previews, expert analysis, statistical reporting, cards and results from organisations affiliated directly and indirectly to the sport. 

Contrast this with Point-to-Point racing, where cards and results are largely limited to the sport’s central web site Pointtopoint.co.uk  and web sites for individual fixtures. Even here, information is not immediately available in the way it is for licensed racing. 

Does this matter? After all, most fixture committees continue to stage their fixtures with more hope than expectation of big profits. The sport has largely eschewed a pursuit of commercialization in favour of retaining its unique parochial ambiance.

Yet higher costs through regulation, safety & medical services and the cost of hire of temporary facilities become more onerous year on year, and the audience is, by and large, static. Each season, the sport loses half a dozen more fixtures as hunts decide the risk of staging a fixture does not match the financial return. By standing still, the sport is effectively going backwards, losing owners to better rewards in professional racing, and spectators through an inability to find the most basic information. Less than a third of fixtures host their own web site, and it is surprisingly difficult to find the cost of admission – a really basic starting point. Small wonder the audience isn’t growing.

So is there space for more televised racing? And what would the sport need to do to achieve coverage?

Finding a channel prepared to broadcast is unlikely to present problems. Across the media sector, there are plenty of channels seeking content around which they can sell their own commercial solutions. It’s even possible that racing’s own bespoke channels would accept this. I can see Sunday Point-to-Point fixtures supporting the professional racing programme very successfully. 

Live coverage, whether through Pay-per-view or free-to-air, would incur costs from participating fixtures, not limited to the cost of coverage. Given the sport is governed by the BHA, anything that might undermine the integrity of the professional sport would not be sanctioned. This would mean the standard integrity services deployed on a licensed fixture would be a basic minimum – photo-finish, dope-testing, betting market supervision, none of which is cheap. 

However, showcasing the sport through a selection of premium televised fixtures would provide welcome publicity for a sport that has all but disappeared from mainstream media coverage. Time was that newspapers like The Times and Daily Telegraph covered the sport; that seems scarcely credible now.

The sport earns money from selling its race data through its subscription channel, managed by the Point-to-Point Racing Company. However, this finite audience will always limit the amount of revenue available. As a sport, and as individual fixtures, we need to be thinking a bigger game if the sport is to survive and thrive and proactively building fresh audiences has to be part of that strategy. 

Can Dan Skelton become Champion Trainer in 2021?

Warwickshire has an enviable record of producing top flight horsemen, whether this be the late lamented Jane Edgar, Rio Gold winner Nick Skelton, or his son Dan, who has successfully pushed his way into the top echelons of the Jump racing training ranks from his base in Croome country, near Alcester.

Since leaving Paul Nicholls’ yard in 2013, where he was assistant trainer prior to his departure, Dan Skelton has progressively had more success on his own with each season.
The West Midlands-based trainer finished third in the curtailed 2019/20 Trainers’ Championship behind the two big powerhouses of Nicholls and Nicky Henderson. With a tally of 119, he had more winners than any other trainer in this country, but still found time to  support the new Point-to-Point course at Shelfield Park, where Nick Pearce, who works for him, is Clerk of the Course.

Skelton will be hoping he can continue his rise as one of the leading trainers in the UK going into the 2020/21 campaign. But if he is to challenge for the Championship next season though, he is going to need to break through at the leading meetings.  Unlike Flat racing, success or failure in the Championship is dictated by performance at Cheltenham and Aintree, where many of the lucrative races on the National Hunt calendar take place. Whatever came before can change in 4 momentous days in March, or by winning the National three weeks later. 

In 2020, Nicholls, Henderson, Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott dominated the four days at Prestbury Park. The size of their yards ensures they are able to have far more runners at the meeting than anybody else, particularly in the handicaps, and the financial muscle within their ownership buys them the best blue bloods available. Skelton did not go into Cheltenham earlier this year with many strong hopes; however, he would have been disappointed to draw a blank rather than add to his tally of 4 Festival winners. The 2021 meeting will need to go much better if he is to claim a maiden Trainers’ Championship.

Horses which can help Skelton close the gap next season
Plans will already be being drawn up for the 2020/21 National Hunt season by the Lodge Hill Farm trainer. He will be hoping some of his novices from the previous campaign step up into nice horses.

Allmankind arguably ran the best of Skelton’s runners at the Festival in March when finishing third in the JCB Triumph Hurdle after making the running to the second last. The Champion Hurdle is likely to be the main target for the horse next season where he is 50/1 with Betfair, who have betting on the next horse races at the Festival.

Third Time Lucki is another horse which showed a lot of promise in his first campaign on the track last season. He was fourth in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, a respectable run which came after back-to-back wins at Market Rasen and Huntingdon respectively. The gelding will be expected to feature over hurdles next season, with a possible shot at the Skybet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the end of it.

Skelton will also be hopeful that Roksana can be a big player in the mares’ division in the 2020/21 campaign. The eight-year-old finished fourth of nine runners in the Mares’ Hurdle, which was won by Honeysuckle. Roksana prevailed in that race in 2019 so has proved her class before.

It may be unfair to remark that Skelton places less emphasis on the Hunter Chase division that every Point-to-Point rider aspires to. His former boss and mentor Paul Nicholls is steeped in a West Country Pointing tradition, with the Ston Easton course that houses the Mendip Farmers fixture just a few miles from the yard. Undoubtedly, having the Barber connection, as well as horses from top amateur David Maxwell plays a part, but Skelton is based in the heart of Pointing country. Finding a horse good enough for the three key Foxhunter Chases shouldn’t be beyond him.

It won’t be an easy task for Skelton as he looks to leapfrog Nicholls and Henderson next season, especially in a year when he won’t be able to achieve a head start around summer jumps courses like Stratford and Worcester; last season, he had already racked up 43 winners by September 1st.However, he now has well over 100 horses in his yard. If he continues to get the best out of all of his runners, a first Trainers’ Championship title shouldn’t be ruled out in the near future.

Gardener-Wollen hoping that Didmarton winner According to Harry can become a stable star

Brooke Gardener-Wollen took over training duties at Old Sodbury in late 2017 whilst her boyfriend Charlie Dando was recovering from a horrific pheasant shooting accident. Although it took a bit of time to get up to speed, it wasn’t long before the rookie handler recorded her first training victory at Didmarton, with Carrig Dubh securing back-to-back wins at the Duke of Beaufort Hunt Point-to-Point meeting. Although she still insists that she predominantly does it for fun, this doesn’t detract from her desire for success, recently admitting that ‘it’s no fun if you always come last’.

The yard’s horses always tend to look the part, and having secured 18 best turned-out awards in 2019, she clearly takes great pride in her pointers. Although they are currently responsible for just a small string of competitors at their Gloucestershire base, they have also recently acquired a couple of former Rules runners with Haydock winner Ravensdale and Ludlow regular According to Harry both joining the yard at the beginning of 2020.

The latter became an instant hit and got off to the perfect start with a convincing victory in the Duke of Beaufort Members race at the beginning of March. The aggressive tactics deployed by Dando saw the 11-year old hit the front with six fences left to jump, and the former hurdler stuck to task on the flat to hold off a late challenge from the fast-finishing Fly West. This triumph enabled the family to finally celebrate their first-ever victory in the contest, with the winning jockey ensuring that his partner Gardener-Wollen was given the lion’s share of the plaudits.

Brooke and Charlie receive plaudits

According to Harry is no stranger to Point-to-Point racing having featured at both Trebudannon and Stafford Cross at the beginning of 2019. The gelding also began his career on the Devon PTP scene, securing victories at numerous venues including Wadebridge and Black Forest Lodge.

The hardy chaser still has plenty to offer, and Gardener-Wollen’s yard will be expecting the former Phillip Hobbs runner to build upon his Didmarton success when the Point-to-Point season gets back underway later this year. He accumulated over £20,000 of prize money under rules, and was regularly partnered by champion jockey Richard Johnson. Two of his three victories came under the jurisdiction of the imperious 42-year old, and as one of the most prolific riders in the history of National Hunt Racing, the Hereford-born pilot’s name can often be found on Paddy Power’s horse racing results page throughout the winter months.

At the beginning of 2017, According to Harry was narrowly beaten by Opening Batsman in Ludlow’s Racing UK Handicap Chase before finally scoring at the Shropshire track in the Grade 3 H R Smith Group Ltd Handicap Chase. His final outing under rules came at Fontwell in June 2018, pulling up at the tenth after struggling to keep pace with eventual winner I See You Well.

Having been sired by Old Vic, the experienced competitor isn’t averse to a stamina test, and although the majority of his recent assignments have been over the three-mile trip, he’s also proved equally adept at tackling slightly longer distances. The 11-year-old is also versatile when it comes to underfoot conditions, although the majority of his victories have been on good ground.

Gardener-Wollen and Dando look set to enjoy plenty more success with their recent arrival. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see him return to Didmarton in March 2021 in a bid to land successive victories at the Gloucestershire track. Although he may not be getting any younger, this experienced thoroughbred undoubtedly has an exciting future back in this sphere and PTP fans are looking forward to seeing him back in action in late 2020.

Racing silks manufacturer switches from colours to scrubs

During lockdown, most businesses have focused on trying to keep afloat, whilst applauding the efforts of the medical professionals keeping us healthy. But one racing business has used its expertise to support the collective national effort. 

The leading racing silks maker in Europe, Allertons, has changed course during the coronavirus crisis to support local hospitals and provide hundreds of sets of scrubs for free as a gift to the NHS. Allertons staff are also familiar faces on the Point-to-Point scene, delivering signage and branding solutions for sponsors like Robert Hitchins Group, Skinner’s Pet Foods, Cothill School, Carter Jonas, Dubarry and previously for motor manufacturers Volvo and Subaru at courses like Andoversford, Barbury and Stratford.


Following the suspension of racing in Great Britain on 17th March due to COVID-19, the Oxfordshire-based company contacted NHS Central to see if they could use their expertise to supply products that would benefit medical professionals on the frontline. South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT) were quick to respond to their call.

After several meetings and sample tests from Allertons, SWFT placed an order of 800 garments for its four hospitals – Warwick, Leamington Spa, Stratford, and Shipton-on-Stour.

Staff at Allertons have volunteered to manufacture the scrubs, including working on weekends and bank holidays. There are 14 volunteers in total producing around 100 garments per week and, so far, they have made around 400 sets of scrubs.  Valerie Quelch, assistant general manager of hotel services for SWFT, praised the quality of the scrubs Allerton have delivered for her workforce and the constant supply at such an important time during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are extremely grateful for everything Allertons have done. They have produced something for us which is of a high quality and has been truly, truly appreciated by the staff here. The scrubs are really well-made and are a fantastic fit, we’ve had nothing but positive feedback,” Quelch said.

“Following the outbreak of COVID-19, everyone was after scrubs and they were extremely hard to get a hold of, so NHS Trusts were coming up with measures to get more into the system. The supply didn’t completely dry up, but it was much slower than it normally would be with such high demand, so the Allertons garments have proven to be very helpful. Each week we have had a steady supply coming through.”

“A large group of final year medical students were seconded to SWFT to assist and ease pressure on our Junior doctors during the coronavirus pandemic. The team that arrived with us has all passed their final year exams and were due to commence their careers as junior doctors in August. We have been able to use the Allertons’ stock to clothe every single one of those doctors.”

The scrubs are worn underneath PPE by medical professionals and are particularly useful amid an outbreak such as COVID-19. They are used as uniform at hospitals and can be washed at +60 degrees to kill any possible remnants of the virus. This means staff do not have to wear normal clothes around the hospital and can reduce their chances of taking coronavirus back to their homes.

After buying more than 1,000m of the required fabric for the scrubs, the volunteers at Allertons got to work to produce them. The manufacturing of scrubs differs from their usual output of making handmade, bespoke racing silks that are individually cut and sewn and so the volunteers have had to adjust their skillset with different fabrics to create the scrubs.

They have been adhering to social distancing guidelines at all times, with machinery moved to ensure they are at least 2m apart. The volunteers also split themselves into two separate teams (and rotas), including people working at home, so there are less people in the workshop.

Adrian Wray, managing director at Allertons, paid tribute to his staff for volunteering their time to contribute to the collaborative and joint effort to help the NHS.
“The staff here at Allertons have been incredible, they’ve pretty much done it off their own back,” Wray said.

“They found the fabric, raised the order for the fabric and got it delivered, and they have all volunteered their furlough time to create the patterns, cut the fabric, iron all of the components, machine them together, pack them and drive them up to Warwick Hospital.

“As a business, it’s lovely to be able to turn our hand to something that is useful and supportive while contributing to the national effort. As volunteers, they feel the same way, but it has also given them a focus to do something positive. They’ve all been marvellous at the way they have managed to organise their family life, getting to work, and finding time to be able to do this, it’s been a total team effort.”

“During these tough times, to be able to give something back to the community is huge for us. We are very grateful to find people from within the NHS who wanted our help, and it feels fantastic to be able to give it to them without charge.”

Kelly Griffin, a cutter at Allertons, was delighted to be able to provide something useful to the NHS in the current circumstances.

“We’ve designed all of the patterns for the scrubs, we’ve brought in all of the fabric and put together all of the garments from scratch. It’s not what we’d normally do here at Allertons but it’s nice to be able to help the NHS,” Griffin said.

“Everyone is happy to volunteer for the NHS because what they always do, and are doing at the moment, is amazing. It’s lovely to give back something to them rather than taking all the time.”

 

Hazel Hill in great shape on summer holiday

Hazel Hill is in “fantastic” shape after his late withdrawal from last month’s St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, writes Carl Evans for www.point-to-point.co.uk.

The 12-year-old was withdrawn from that contest on the morning of the race after veterinary staff noted an irregular heartbeat. Hazel Hill, who is owned by Diana Williams, won the Foxhunter Chase 12 months’ earlier under rider Alex Edwards and was likely to start favourite for this year’s race.

His trainer, Shropshire’s Philip Rowley, said: “He’s fine. He’s out in a field at his owner’s home and Mrs Williams would like to run him again so we’re looking forward to seeing him later in the year.

“Every hunters’ chase runner is physically checked by vets at the races, and they picked up on a slightly irregular heartbeat. At first they weren’t sure, so fetched another ECG machine and then said the horse should not run.

Diana Williams accepts the magnificent Foxhunter trophy

 

 

“On the Monday afterwards we had him checked over at home and they couldn’t find anything wrong. It’s a mystery.”

Diana Williams said of the procedure at Cheltenham: “He was fine at rest, but they noticed something when he went into a trot. The consensus was to leave him for two months and give him another proper check over with an ECG machine – there is every chance he will be fine.

“We have owned him since he was a five-year-old and he’s never shown any signs of a problem. When they have a flu jab their hearts are tested, but only at rest, and nothing has shown up.

“If the powers that be think he is okay to go back into training why not? He has been a point-to-pointer all his life, but he has a future after racing because he has such a lovely temperament – I’m sure Jane [her daughter, the former national women’s champion] would find something to do with him.

“At the moment he’s out in a field with a young horse and he looks fantastic. He looked fantastic when he came back from Phil’s, but he was very fit. Now he’s put a bit of flesh on and he has really appreciated the past couple of weeks of warm weather.”

Hazel Hill made his racing debut as a six-year-old, but has never been over-raced, and in his busiest seasons has come under starter’s orders just four times, including when kicking off his career in Irish point-to-points. In the season which recently ended prematurely he ran twice, winning an open race at Sheriff Hutton before finishing second to Minella Rocco at Wetherby.

LEDBURY MEETING REARRANGED FOR SATURDAY 7TH APRIL

Outdoor fun for all the family at Gloucester Races and Country Fair on

Saturday 7th April

Gloucester Races and Country Fair, in association with MS Amlin, promises to be a fun-filled sporting event for the whole family this Easter.

Set in the grounds of Maisemore Park on the banks of the River Severn, the event has been rescheduled for Saturday 7th April from 10am-6pm.

Gloucester Races showcases the best of British amateur horseracing over the jumps combined with rural crafts and an action-packed Country Fair.

Along with eight competitive races, racegoers can enjoy pony racing, a gun dog display and scurry, falconry display, hound parade, ferreting racing, wood turning and a poultry and bee keeping exhibition. In addition to the racing and demonstrations there will also be a shopping pavilion with 40 stalls showcasing local and artisan food and drink plus a range of gifts, handmade crafts and clothing, along with trade stands, food outlets, licensed bar and bookmakers. There will also be additional entertainment for children including face painting, rodeo rugby and bouncy castle.

David Redvers, chairman of the race meeting said “Gloucester Races is growing into a major sporting event in the local calendar. As part of our commitment to introduce more and more young people to racing and the countryside we’re welcoming families and staff from St James Gloucester City Farm and several inner-city schools.

Point-to-Point racing is an amateur sport that provides a vital nursery ground for many of today’s top National Hunt horses – the winner of our young horse race at Maisemore in 2017 was favourite for a race at the Cheltenham Festival – you really can expect to get up close and personal to some equine stars of the future at Maisemore.”

Gates open at 10am. Dogs are welcome on a lead. Discounted tickets are available online for £10 per person, under 16’s free. Tickets are available on the day for £12.50 per person. Parking is free. For further information and for a full event timetable please visitwww.gloucesterraces.co.uk