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Saturday, 23rd Oct 2021

Sheppards win new friends at home and at Plumpton

Eastnor trainer Matt Sheppard opened his stable to the public today as part of National Racehorse Week, the seven day campaign to share with the public the behind the scenes elements of racing yards up and down the country. 

Several hundred folk had registered to see the picturesque yard just off the village green in Eastnor, adjacent to the estate office for Eastnor Castle. On such a day, one might reasonably have expected stable jockey Stan Sheppard to support his parents’ enterprise, but a jockey goes where he is booked, and the long journey to Plumpton’s opening fixture proved well worthwhile, when Glory And Fortune ran out a comfortable winner of the 2m Family & Friends Remembering Norman Sharpe Handicap Hurdle for near neighbour Tom Lacey. 

Worcestershire rider Stan Sheppard
Worcestershire rider Stan Sheppard

Fellow Worcestershire handler Sam Drinkwater was also successful when Strensham Court followed up his impressive Stratford Bumper win of early September with another accomplished performance. He looks an exciting horse to go hurdling with over the coming months. 

Two other trainers from within the West Mercian area also notched a winner at Plumpton. David Bridgwater isn’t best known as an advocate of summer jumping, but Pirate Sam, under contrasting racing tactics, showed notable improvement in form to win the novices handicap chase, breaking his chase duck in the process. 

The bellwether of summer jumping, Richard Newland, also took his season earnings a step nearer £200,000 when Galata Bridge followed up early promise from a Worcester run on the first of the month to win his maiden hurdle at the prohibitive odds of 2/7. No-one got rich there. 

This week is the first since May that Jumps racing will be staged every day, a sure sign that the winter code is gathering momentum. Open days here, there and everywhere bear testament to a fresh season, hopefully unencumbered by lockdowns and restrictions on attendance. The Point-to-Point season launches in Devon on October 30.

Stand by, we’re nearly under orders.

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