Thursday, 13 December 2012

The racecourse are recruiting!

Worcester Racecourse is one of 15 Racecourses operated by Arena Racing Company and 2013 is going to be a very exciting year for us. Our fixture list has increased and we are set to stage 21 National Hunt Race days. On top of this, throughout the year we host a variety of non racing events which continue to become more popular.

Here at Worcester, we are all fired up and raring to go. We want to make 2013 a year to remember. Do you think you have what it takes to help us get there? We are looking to recruit an inspiring New Business Sales Executive to join the team on a fixed term contract for 2013. Full vacancy details can be found on our website at, alternatively call Lyndsey Denning on 07584 683083.

Closing Date 4th January 2013.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Final fixture of the Season!

All good things come to an end and the summer season at Pitchcroft has been largely good despite the wet weather doing its best at times to spoil the party. 

The penultimate meeting on the 11th October gave us a couple of interesting winners. 

Arctic Echo trained at Solihull by Rob Summers last ran at Towcester in April 2011. At 13 years old, he rewarded his owner/breeder Patrick Dineen with his first Worcester winner, in the opening conditional jockey’s handicap chase. 

Thomas Crapper showed good hurdling form last season without winning but came out for Alcester trainer Robin Dickin and made his first run of the season a winning one in the 2 mile novice hurdle. 

Following that up on Friday with a run in Cheltenham’s opening race of the new season, the horse finished third behind the highly regarded Nigel Twiston-Davies trained four year old, The New One. 

Local trainers have been recording successes in the past week including Tony Carroll’s surprise win with Roseini in the mares’ novice hurdle at Towcester. The horse was tailed off at Stratford recently and was 20 lengths down two out before staying on to win the Towcester race. 

There was another good training performance from Alvechurch’s Ian Williams to get Drumlang to win Huntingdon’s handicap hurdle under Harry Skelton after a 178 day absence from the track. 

There is a great afternoon in store at our final meeting of the year tomorrow. Entries are strong, in which all the top National Hunt yards are represented. 

Also drawing to a close is the Red Mills sponsored trainer’s contest which will go to the wire with just four points currently separating Jonjo O’Neill and David Pipe. 

Two of our most interesting races of the season will feature as first and second on the card. 

The Fred Rimell Memorial Novice chase which recognises the achievements of the former five times champion trainer, has produced some smart horses in the past including Pride of Dulcote, Heltornic, Idle Talk and two years ago, the Giant Bolster. 

Trained by David Bridgewater, the Giant Bolster went on to finish second in this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup behind Synchronised at odds of 50/1. 

In his 2010 Cheltenham debut he was beaten by a neck by Nicky Henderson’s 2012 Queen Mother Champion Chase victor, Finian’s Rainbow, behind the race winner, Peddlar’s Cross in the Neptune Investment novice’s hurdle. 

The Richard Davis Memorial Chase was won last year by Charlie Longsdon’s Vincitore who was just touched off at Ludlow in a handicap chase recently. 

After 18 years in the saddle, jockey Jodie Mogford has retired to become assistant trainer to Stow on the Wold based Graeme McPherson. 

McPherson has sponsored the mares’ novice hurdle race tomorrow in honour of the jockey. Mogford said recently, “although I had good winners at Cheltenham, Worcester was always my favourite because it’s a lovely place to ride and I was lucky enough to do well there over the years.” 

The first race tomorrow is due off at 2.10pm and the gates open from 12.10pm.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Futures Looking Bright!

With the release of the fixture list by the BHA last week, and with more fixtures staged at Worcester in 2013 than in a good few years, it’s great to have the confidence from Arena Racing Company that Worcester is a worthy addition to the racing calendar. Four dates have been added to the calendar, bringing the total number of meetings from April to October to 21. Included will be three new evenings, increasing these popular events to 8 from 30th April to 20th August. New for 2013 will be a Family Fun Day on Sunday 23rd June, formerly a fixture run at Hereford as their Ladies' Day. 

Ladies Day at Worcester, the highlight of the racing summer, will return to Derby Day on Saturday 1st June. 

The considerable demand for the Senior Citizens special package day has meant there will be two of the these next year, one on the 3rd July and one on the 28th of August. 
The Pershore Plum festival Family night, the best attended of our evenings in 2012, will again be on the last Tuesday in July (30th). 

In all, 2013 is a very exciting prospect. and although racing draws to a close at Worcester on 24th October for 2012, the year ahead promises to be something special. 

Nationally, there will be 1464 race meetings in 2013, eight more that in 2012. The meetings will be split - 574 over jumps, 890 flat fixtures and 307 on the all-weather tracks at Wolverhampton, Southwell Lingfield and Kempton. 

With winter fast approaching, the Cheltenham and Three Counties Race Club will be hosting a season preview evening on Wednesday 17th October in the Grandstand at Worcester. With guests panellists including Times' racing correspondent Alan Lee, trainer Henry Daly, racing author John Morris and attherace Matthew Tayolor. The event is open to all, with entry £6pp payable on the door from 7.30pm. Worcester Annual Badge Holders will be admitted for free. 

The first race tomorrow is due off at 2.00pm, and the gates open from 12 noon!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Racing Abandoned

Unfortunately due to the poor weather we have been having over the last few days, racing has had to be abandoned tomorrow. Clerk of the Course Fergus Cameron said ""Following a further rise in the level of the River Severn overnight and with parts of the track now under more water than this time yesterday, we have reluctantly concluded that there is no longer sufficient time for a recovery to take place before tomorrow's scheduled meeting, so we have abandoned it". He went on to say "The river hasn't burst but water has just percolated up from the ground. Our next meeting is October 11th so we're all systems go for that".

Apologies to everyone involved in tomorrow's meeting, the ground staff have been working none stop to get us in a race-able condition. For any ticket enquiries for tomorrows fixture, please call 01905 25364.

We look forward to seeing you at our next fixture on Thursday 11th October, gates open at 12.00pm with the first race at 2.00pm. Click Here for more information.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Weather Watch

With the inclement weather with us again, and with racing on this Friday, we will be subject to an 8am inspection on Thursday.

Back straight – soft
Home straight – heavy (surface water on the run-in and Cathedral bend)
Cathedral bend 3 yards off the inside line
Northern bend on the inside
Run in on the far rail
61mm rain has fallen since Sunday morning
Forecast mainly dry through until Friday
There are also road works on the M5 junction 5-6 which may cause delays, so leave plenty of travel time!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

September Racing

We have heard it said many times that horses can make fools of us. However much five star treatment and up-to-the-minute training we give them, they really are their own masters. There was a great example of this at the recent Worcester meeting. 

Keenes Day trained by Sophie Leech at Westbury on Severn had virtually refused to race at Sedgefield the previous evening, being pulled up after the first hurdle. The following day at Worcester, he played up in the parade ring, had to be led at the start and again showed mulish behaviour when the tapes went up. It took skilful horsemanship from jockey James Best to coax him into the race at all, whereupon he eventually took up the bridle and won the novice hurdle staying on by 6 lengths. The horse is obviously talented but only prepared to race under his terms and certainly would not be relied on to follow up. 

An interesting horse to watch going forward is Royale’s Charter trained by Nick Williams, who saw off the challenges of the Claines trained favourite, Bobowen on the same day. Running in the Novice chase, a race two grades lower than his previous outing 214 days earlier, the son of Karinga Bay put in a stout performance and will be able to build on that over the winter. 

Phillip Hobbs was left musing the victory of his second string, Calusa Caldera in the opening handicap chase at odds of 25/1. The horse is owned by Peter Luff who also owned the 1986 Grand National winner, West Tip, trained locally at Elmley Lovett by Michael Oliver. 

Worcestershire trainers recorded success on a recent foray to Huntingdon. In form Claines trainer, Richard Newland’s Changing the Guard won the 2 mile handicap hurdle under Tom O’Brien, who also rode the same trainer’s Paddy the Hare into second in the novice chase. Hanley Swan’s Andy Hobbs ran Nether Stream to win the conditional jockeys selling hurdle from Newland’s Stage Acclaim. Jockey Charlie Huxley will not longer be eligible for conditional jockeys’ races as he rode out his claim with this victory. On the same card, Heezagrey who is trained at Broadwas by James Evans improved his 2-45 strike rate to win the handicap hurdle. One of those previous wins was at Worcester last year in the John Burke Memorial chase, an annual race which will be run again on the 28th September. 

Very much in the news currently, Hereford racecourse hosted a good win for local trainer Jeff Sadik from Wolverley this week. Five year old Finch Flyer followed up his Bangor success just days earlier under a positive drive from champion jockey, Tony McCoy. The horse beat recent Worcester winner, Faith Jicaro who has just changed trainers from Rachel Hobbs to her husband, Andy. 

With four meetings to the end of the season, the leading Worcester trainer’s table is worth noting. Just 15 points separate the top 5 trainers – David Pipe, Richard Phillips, Nigel Twiston-Davies, Paul Nicholls and Richard Woollacott. With 10 points awarded for a win, it really still is anybody’s race. 

The first race at Pitchcroft today is due at 2.10pm and the gates open from 12.10pm.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The week that was!

There was a noticeable Noah’s Ark theme to racing last week, when certain trainers celebrated successes two by two.

Recording the first ever double at her local track since taking out a trainer’s licence in 2008, Rachel Hobbs from Hanley Swan was delighted to see Benny’s Quest driven clear by Peter Carberry in the handicap chase at Pitchcroft on Tuesday.  This was followed half an hour later by Donal Fahy on Faith Jicaro in the mare’s maiden hurdle who won by 8 lengths at 9/1. It was the jockey’s first winner since breaking his back last season. Fahy was still coming down to earth having returned to the UK that morning fresh from winning the Mongol Derby, the world’s longest and toughest horse race featuring 35 riders and 25 horse stations.  The gruelling test included spending 14 hours a day in the saddle riding semi-wild horses and ponies over 1,000 km of challenging Mongolian landscape alongside fellow jockey, Richie Killoran.

Trainer Brian Ellison made the 176 mile journey from Malton in north Yorkshire worth while when both mares he sent triumphed in their respective races. Floral Patches, formerly trained by Anthony Honeyball, won the novice hurdle.  She was ridden by amateur jockey, Harriet Bethell who was having her first ride at the course. Ellison’s other runner, Dream Risk was a well backed favourite for the conditional jockeys handicap hurdle. The horse was unperturbed by the fracas at the start when Lawney Hills’ Overlay took a dislike to the idea of racing, gave jockey Tom Cannon no chance of staying on and bolted round the course, tack flying in all directions.

Allerford Jack, trained by Richard Woollacott recorded his second win at the course in as many months, having also scored at Uttoxeter and Stratford in between. Former Worcester winners in August 2011, Red Not Blue trained by Simon Earle and Papradon trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies both managed to get their noses in front at the course again. Red Not Blue was ridden by champion Jockey, AP McCoy as regular rider, Andrew Thornton is currently on the injury list and Papradon was following up a recent Stratford win.

Another local trainer enjoying a double at Stratford in the week was Ian Williams.  Tyrana who has been a tricky mare to win with, came right on the day in the novice handicap hurdle, followed by Bittersweetheart ridden by Dougie Costello in the concluding bumper.

The evening meetings are now behind us and the autumn is fast approaching.  The nights drawing in and the heavy morning dews indicate one thing.  The winter national hunt season is on its way.

The first race at Pitchcroft today is due at 2.20pm and the gates open from 12.20pm.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Racing on 21st August

We have had a busy few weeks at the racecourse, the weather and one thing or another has kept us extremely busy! Our Pershore Plum festival was a brilliant day for all involved, although accidents around and about Worcester did leave us with horse boxes and racegoers being delayed by up to 2 hours reaching the Racecourse! Trainer Peter Bowen, who had travelled from Haverford west unloaded his runner in the first, Earl Grez, in the middle of Worcester and led the horse through the streets for a mile and a half to arrive in time!

Trainer Bob Buckler had a week to remember with Mister Matt. The horse ran on strongly to take the annual Pershore Plum Festival Land O’Plums Chase on the Tuesday night, and followed that with a win in Newton Abbot’s feature £25K handicap chase on the Saturday. 

Richard Woollacott continued his fine run of form with Allerford Jack posting wins at Worcester and Uttoxeter, 5 days apart. Both handicap chases were sponsored coincidentally, by Weatherby’s Bloodstock Insurance. The hat-trick was posted at Stratford, with Woollacott’s Deb’s Dasher also scoring in the novice chase as the outsider of three at 14-1. 

Goodwood was certainly Glorious for Cropthorne’s Tony Carroll whose Time Medicean won a 5 furlong, 23 runner race from the bottom of the handicap at 22/1. The horse now heads for the grey’s race at the July course in Newmarket which he won last year. 

The new August ten day jump racing break has passed with not all parties happy. Jockey Aidan Coleman tweeted on Friday ‘no racing, no money’. 

Consequently, there is a strong entry for the final evening meeting of the season at Pitchcroft today when gates open at 2.50pm and the first race is due off at 4.50pm. We look forward to your support! 

Monday, 30 July 2012

Pershore Plum Festival Raceday

How many times at the race meeting on Wednesday did I hear ‘what a difference a week makes?’  It was quite unbelievable to be abandoning a meeting one week and watering the same ground 5 days later, which had turned almost ‘firm’.

Not to be deterred from running their horses at Worcester however, trainers made 313 entries for last week’s meeting at the 6 day stage, declaring 187 of these to run the day before racing.  Due to our stable capacity of 95 and the ‘runner per stable’ rule, 92 of these horses were unfortunately balloted out.  Worcester remains firmly on the map as a popular summer jumping course.

This summer’s National Hunt racing in our locale is a tale of three ‘Richards’.

Former champion point to point jockey, Richard Woollacott boasted a 50% strike rate from his runners over the 14 days prior to our meeting.  The wins included a double at Uttoxeter, one of which was with Vintage Tea who ran at Worcester’s Ladies’ Day in June.

Woops of encouragement from Woollacott rang around the parade ring on Wednesday, when his Allerford Jack just touched off David Rees’ Chandler’s Cross in the opening Handicap Chase.

Richard Phillips remains a close second to David Pipe in the Worcester trainer’s table and Claines trainer, Richard Newland is in the form of his life.

Newland’s Bobowen posted victories recently at Stratford and again on Thursday at Uttoxeter.  Smalib Monterg registered his third victory since being claimed in a Ludlow seller in April by winning the handicap hurdle at Newton Abbott in the week.  Paddy the Hare also came a good second in Uttoxeter’s beginner’s chase.  

On the same card, Newland had a rare bumper runner, Rex Appeal who also put in an excellent performance only to be pipped on the line by a short head.

Another local trainer in great form currently is Tony Carroll.   Direct Flo gave Carroll a Worcester winner on Wednesday, after which Carroll declared the mare a sun worshipper, commenting ‘she likes it when the sun shines’.

The Kevin Morgan trained My Farmer Girl was one of three mares to take the honours at Pitchcroft.  Her owner/breeder, John Duckworth was pleased his perseverance paid off as he had travelled to the course from Glasgow the previous week to watch the mare run, only for the meeting to be abandoned.

Eyes will be on the Festival from Galway this coming week.  A number of British raiders are planning to make the trip with trainers Rebecca Curtis and Sophie Leech making entries for the Galway Plate, and Tim Vaughan, Donald McCain and Peter Bowen amongst 6 trainers with intended runners in the Galway Handicap Hurdle.

Worcester has its own feature night tomorrow when the Pershore Plum Festival family race evening will include the third running of the revived Land O’Plums Chase, formerly run at Pershore Racecourse in the early 1900’s.

It is also a night when the course supports Racing Welfare, a very worthy charity who looks after anyone in need, connected to the racing industry.  Silent auction lots will include Mornings on the Gallops generously donated by Jonjo O’Neill, Charlie Longsdon and Tim Vaughan.

The gates open at 3.50 pm and the first race is due off at 5.50pm.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Racing from the past week

Local successes at any race track are always heartening and last Wednesday at Worcester, in very testing and tiring conditions, four horses from our area put their noses in front to find themselves in the winner’s enclosure. The procession began in the first race with a horse appropriately named for the weather, Aqualung, trained at Alvechurch by Ian Williams. The race was a handicap chase sponsored by Chaddesly Corbett School, Winterfold House. Interestingly, Williams had arranged for a group of ladies from the Worcester based networking group, The Wednesday Club, to spend the morning on the gallops at his Dominion Racing Stables. The Ladies were delighted to see the trainer enjoy the first winner of the day from their hospitality marquee by the parade ring, where the guest of honour was Jenny Pitman. Williams had had 5 winners from his last 26 runners going into the meeting, giving him a good strike rate of 19%.

The John O’Shea trained Stafford Charlie from Newnham-on-Severn won the second race, followed by success for Paul Davies from Bromyard with Samtheman in the selling hurdle. Former trotting and point to point trainer as well as saddler Davies, was delighted with his first winner under rules, having also had a second placed horse just half an hour earlier in the bumper with outsider of the field, All Hope at 28/1.

Samtheman was ridden by the only lady jockey of the day, Alice Mills, and having previously recorded a win in a maiden point in May, the 7 year old romped home to win by 12 lengths at another decent price of 25/1.
Bidding in the subsequent auction went the way of jockey Tom Molloy on behalf of trainer, Graeme McPherson who paid 7,000 guineas for the horse.

The fifth race went to the Venetia Williams trained Cool Cascade from Hereford, with the last two prizes going to David Pipe’s yard in Somerset and Keith Goldworthy’s stables in Pembrokeshire. Pipe’s win propelled him to the top of the closely fought trainer’s table for the first time and left him clear of Richard Phillips by 7 points, which is less than one win ahead.

The majority of horses are finishing tired in these very wet conditions and field sizes are diminished as trainers are looking for better ground for their summer jumpers.

David Pipe’s aptly named Decoy had the field on the stretch in the feature handicap hurdle and Claines trained Stage Acclaim could only stay on for second place.
Richard Newland had better luck at Uttoxeter with Changing the Guard who came in by 26 lengths following a 71 day break, and continuing his run of good form, Bobowen won the Handicap Chase at Market Rasen by 12 lengths on Sunday.

As Ireland is the home of many jockeys currently riding on the circuit and indeed many of the horses in training originate from the Emerald Isle, it is fitting that Worcester celebrates the annual Irish race night tomorrow evening. Local band, The Roving Crows will entertain all in the County enclosure throughout the evening and the first race is due off at 6.10pm, with gates opening from 4.10pm.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Racing round up!

It has been another week where the weather has dominated the headlines! With freak storms and flash floods responsible for the very near abandonment of Newcastle’s three day Northumberland Plate meeting and Leicester suffered its third cancelled meeting in a row, Worcester was yet again fortunate to have a warm, sunny day for racing.

Emotions ran high at Pitchcroft on Wednesday as the troops of Worcester paraded through the town. The sight of so many soldiers in uniform relaxing with family and friends, the sound of the Heavy Cavalry and Cambrai band, pipes and drums and war horses parading on the track all contributed to the truly memorable atmosphere.

On a more sombre note, National Hunt racing lost one of its own this week when jockey Campbell Gillies tragically died in a swimming pool accident in Corfu. His weighing room colleagues sporting black arm bands stood in the parade ring alongside racegoers for a minute’s silence before the first race. The sadness is all the more poignant because Brindisi Breeze, the Lucinda Russell trained horse who provided Gillies with his first Cheltenham Festival winner in March was also recently killed in a freak road accident.

Through the season we have a number of Irish runners, former Grand National winning trainer Gordon Elliot brought two to the meeting last week.  Raajih won the handicap hurdle at Newton Abbot the previous evening under Katy Walsh, who had come from Ireland specially to take the ride. With an additional 7lb penalty for that win and Jason Maguire in the saddle, Raajih did well to give Elliot second place in our novice handicap hurdle behind shock winner of the day, Commanche Dream, who came in at 50/1, ending an 8 year losing spell for trainer Liam Grassick. The horse’s only previous success was at Uttoxeter in 2004.

On top form again was Richard Phillips who has now overtaken Paul Nicholls at the head of the Worcester trainer’s table. Saticon followed up his Ladies Day triumph with a win by just a head from Marju King in a driving finish under Tony McCoy. It was McCoy’s first ever victory for Phillips and brightened what had been a frustrating day of results for the champion jockey.

David Pipe’s Battlegroup was sent off 11/8 favourite for the opener. However the horse who is 0 from 7 over fences is inappropriately named as he certainly does not relish a battle and prefers to remain firmly with the group.

Dead heats are rare and we can only recall a couple at the course. However, the mares’ bumper produced a very exciting finish between Donald McCain’s Blue Article and David Pipe’s Too Generous and the judge was unable to split the two.

Following our local trainers, Richard Newland’s recent Ffos Las winner Smalib Monterg managed a second on much quicker ground at Worcester under the welter weight of 12 stone 5lb.

Ian Williams who trains at Alvechurch had his first winner of the season at the course when Fearless Leader took the first division of the novice handicap hurdle. Williams has more runners on the flat in the summer months.

Racing tomorrow afternoon starts and 2.10pm with the gates opening at 12.10pm.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Worcester Troops Parade

Approximately 750 members of the Mercian Regiment, Grenadier Guards and The Queen's Royal Hussars - including veterans and marching bands paraded through the city centre on 27 June at 11 am, ahead of the national Armed Forces Day on 30 June. Everyone finished up at Worcester Racecourse for a great day of racing!

For more on the day Click Here to head over the the Worcester News Website.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The week in racing!

Running a racecourse and producing decent, even ground in the current unpredictable weather conditions is a serious challenge. Last Monday, after a weekend of heavy rain, most of which we experienced on the racecourse stand at the Malvern Three Counties Show, the going was put out as ‘good to soft, good in places’ in the back straight and ‘soft, heavy in places’ in the home straight. Such were the subsequent drying conditions and the gloriously sunny day for racing on Wednesday, that the going by race time had switched to ‘good’ all round. One of the difficulties we face is that the home straight, nearest to the river, is lower lying than the back straight and therefore tends to be that bit softer when we have significant rain.

Senior citizen in racing terms, 12 year old Midnight Gold stormed to victory in the handicap chase for his new trainer, Julian Smith from Tirley in Gloucestershire on Senior Citizen’s Special Package day. The horse has benefited from a switch from Peter Bowen to a smaller yard and rewarded the three owning members of the Blue Skies syndicate with a 28/1 win. Former Royal Ascot runner, Enroller was sent off 8/11 favourite for the novice claiming hurdle but could only manage second place behind Edlomond trained by Bill Turner.

Richard Phillips continued his good run of form with a win from Rich Buddy under Richard Johnson, who had previously pulled up at the course in May, and a further two third placed horses on the day.

New trainer and former champion point to point jockey, Richard Woollacott, took just 11 days to record his first winner under rules. Parkham Jack who is by Grape Tree Road and related to the useful Paxford Jack and Ballyfitz, ran into second place in the Ladies’ Day bumper on 9th June and followed up nicely with a win in the maiden hurdle.

Broadwas on Teme trainer, James Evans, has now had a double at the course at consecutive meetings with Mexican Bob, firstly under Grand National winning jockey, Liam Treadwell and last week under Robert Kirk.

Paul Nicholls and his assistant, Dan Skelton made the journey from Ditcheat to Worcester but had an unusually disappointing afternoon with the results from their five runners reading 2 / 2 / 6 / 6 / 11.

On a more successful note, Claines trainer Richard Newland had a great evening in the ‘monsoon’ that was Ffos Las on Thursday. Stage Acclaim, who won the Uttoxeter two mile seller the previous week, took the four runner feature £20,000 handicap chase by storm to win comfortably, and stable mate, Smalib Monterg followed up in the handicap hurdle run almost in the dark at 9.20pm, to give the trainer a double on the night.

Armed Forces Celebration raceday tomorrow, in aid of Help for Heroes, offers the public the chance for the first time ever FREE entry to the centre course enclosure. Visitors to the racecourse will have the chance to meet meet service men and women as well as veterans from the Mercians, the Queen’s Royal Hussars and the Grenadier Guards.

Gates open at 12 noon and the first race is due off at 2.10pm. If you are coming along, have a great day!

Worcester to recognise armed forces heroes

Tomorrow is an extra special day in Worcester, particularly for the racecourse. Approximately 750 members of the Mercian Regiment, Grenadier Guards and The Queen's Royal Hussars - including veterans and marching bands - will parade through the city centre on 27th June at 11 am, ahead of the national Armed Forces Day on 30 June.

The parade will be followed by an afternoon of racing at the racecourse, where we will also be hosting a charity race in aid of Help For Heroes. Added attractions at the racecourse will include Military Vehicles on display, war horses, Military bands, choirs singing, army recruitment and fundraising for Help For Heroes.

Gates will be open from 12 Noon onwards, and as an extra bonus on the day, there will be FREE ENTRY FOR ALL to the CENTRE COURSE ENCLOSURE. If you fancy popping along, join us for a great day of celebration and racing!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Today at the races!

Doubles and trebles were the order of Worcester’s Festival of Racing weekend – and we are referring to the racing rather than bar sales! 

Out of luck at Pitchcroft’s first two meetings, champion jockey Tony McCoy, stormed back with a vengeance recording a treble in front of a packed Ladies’ Day crowd. The first two legs came in the opening novice handicap chase and the beginners’ chase. Both horses, Sagredo and Caddie Master were trained by Jonjo O’Neill and owned by JP McManus. O’Neill won the same beginners’ chase in 2006 and 2011 and boasted a 31% strike rate for the 14 days leading into the Festival weekend. Rebecca Curtis sent My Lad Percy from Newport in west Wales to give the Champ his third victory of the day in the bumper. 

Trainer Richard Phillips is currently in the form of his life and even he was taken by surprise at his Ladies’ Day double, when Mr Tingle and Saticon stormed first past the post in the consecutive novice and handicap hurdles. Phillips, who was unable to recall when he last had a double, commented he was delighted, "Having had more seconds than the Liberal Democrats of late!". 

The annual Valerie Lewis Memorial handicap chase, first run in 2005, was a competitive affair with the trainer / jockey, father / son combination of Brendan Powell and Brendan Powell junior teaming up to win comfortably with Shoreacres. The same pair scored again on the Sunday with Benny’s Wall in the handicap chase. 

Sue Gardner from Longdown in Devon sent out the first double of her training career on Countryside day when Miss Saffron beat Paul Nicholls’ Minella Stars in the £11,000 novice chase, and Southway Star followed up in the conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle. 

Another father and son, trainer / jockey combination, John and Joe Cornwall, were on the score sheet with the unlikely Mad Professor who was 1 win from 62 runs going into the Handicap chase. 

All in all, an excellent weekend’s racing in front of a 10,500 strong crowd over the two days. 

Tony Carroll from Cropthorne has a summer jumping superstar on his hands with Jolly Roger. The five year old has won six races from six starts since April, four of these in nine days and all six in just 33 days. The wins have come with two at Uttoxeter, and one each at Cartmel, Newton Abbott, Hereford and Aintree, all under conditional, Lee Edwards. The horse will now head for the Galway hurdle following a short break. 

Worcester based freelance jockey, Tommy Phelan has started the season well. With just ten wins on the board last season, he rode a double at Newton Abbott last week, bringing his total to six wins in the first two months of the new season. 

Today sees the annual Senior Citizens’ raceday at Pitchcroft, when the discounted package tickets will be available to purchase at the gates. 

The first race is due off at 2.10pm. If you are coming along, have a great day!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Hunters' Chase Story

There is only one Hunters’ Chase run at Worcester every year and there won’t be many more touching stories than the one involving the local winner of the race run at the last meeting. Trained just four miles from the course at Lower Broadheath by Paul Senter, the Wife’s Sister was sent off at odds of 100-1. The race had been the target for her since Christmas, mainly because it would be close by for Paul’s Mum, Rose, to come and watch. Sadly Rose died a few days before the race but Senter and owner, Dawn Pugh, who is the scorer at Worcester County Cricket ground and who was also celebrating her 60th birthday, decided to run the horse for Rose. When The Wife’s Sister passed the post in front, giving Senter his first winner under rules, Pugh described the cheering from friends and family as akin to Manchester United scoring a winning goal!

In other news from the meeting, Claines trained Wakeboard whose previous run was in the Topham at Aintree put in a better performance in the handicap chase to come a close second behind Paul Nicholls’ Spock.  Jockey Richard Johnson’s parents, Susan and Keith, celebrated an owner/trainer victory in the concluding handicap hurdle with Themanfromfraam ridden by Adam Wedge. Shaun Lycett made a promising start to the defence of his Worcester trainer’s title when Ironical and new recruit to the yard, Weapon of War, who had been off the track for 766 days, both came second in their respective handicap hurdle and novice hurdle. 

Another lady celebrating her 60th birthday was Gail Hewitt whose daughter and son-in–law Kirsty and Mark Bettis from Bromsgrove sponsored the bumper in her name. Little did she know until after the race, that winner Broadway Buffalo who is trained by David Pipe, was the first runner for England rugby international Mark Cueto and Welsh international Andy Powell. Purchased recently at Cheltenham, the horse stayed on strongly to win by 10 lengths and his pedigree suggests he will go further in time. The second placed horse in the race, The Stout Italian who was also having his debut run, went through the Doncaster sales ring fetching his reserve price of £45,000 last week. Trainer Kim Bailey was out of luck with his offer of free training for 11 months if the horse made his reserve, as the son of Milan was purchased by bloodstock agent Aiden Murphy and will now be trained by Ben De Haan. One lucky punter went home happy having placed a £5 placepot bet and was the only person on course to win. The bet paid a staggering £26,000 on the night!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Let's Get Britain Racing

Worcester Racecourse is participating in a three-month campaign called Let’s Get Britain Racing. The campaign offers people the chance to come racing for just £10 and will also run at Worcester’s 16 sister racecourses around the country. Designed to encourage people who have never been racing to try it for the first time, as well as offering great value for money for existing racing fans, Let’s Get Britain Racing will see more than 100,000 tickets offered for £10 across England and Wales. 

Highlights of Worcester’s summer racing calendar include;

June 2012
  • Sunday 10th:- Countryside Family Day (NH/Turf) 
  • Wednesday 20th - Senior Citizens Special Discount Package Day (NH/Turf) 
  • Wednesday 27th 
July 2012
  • Wednesday 4th - Wednesday Club Corporate 'Independence Day' Networking Event (NH/Turf) 
  • Wednesday 11th - Irish Night (NH/Turf) 
  • Wednesday 18th - Midlands Air Ambulance Charity Race Night (NH/Turf) 
  • Wednesday 25th (NH/Turf) 
  • Tuesday 31st - Pershore Plum Festival Family Race Night (NH/Turf) 
August 2012
  • Tuesday 21st - St John Ambulance Charity Race Night (NH/Turf) 
  • Wednesday 29th (NH/Turf) 
The £10 offer is only available online and in advance. For more information visit

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

First race down, 16 to go!

It was amazing to see just how much the ground had dried in such a short space of time, as the 69 horses contested the first 6 races of the new season at Worcester last week.

The story of the day was the seemingly easy victory of Sir Alex Ferguson’s I’m Fraam Goran in the concluding bumper, at the precise moment when his owner’s football team, Manchester United lost the premiership to Manchester City. The George Baker trained four year old saw off the challenges of Paul Nicholls’ fancied Easter day with jockey Connor O’Farrell needing to do nothing more than steering job to the line.

The newly established Jonjo O’Neill Racing Club had their first runner at the same meeting. Deed of Gift, having only his second outing, was previously placed fourth in a Southwell Racecourse bumper in February. The horse ran moderately and will certainly come on for the experience.

Local interest included Himbleton based William and Angela Rucker’s promising Tornado In Milan rallying well into second behind Philip Hobbs’ Reste Gosse in the maiden hurdle. The Ruckers also own recent Grand National runners State of Play and Cappa Bleu. Tornado In Milan’s form is promising and this will be another one to keep an eye on.

Claines trainer, Richard Newland, tells us that he has a good team lined up for the summer jumping campaign including Paddy the Hare, who was just pipped into second in a handicap hurdle at Southwell Racecourse in the week, following a few months break. 

Relishing the drying ground, Jolly Roger trained in Cropthorne by Tony Carroll, made it 2 from 2 at Uttoxeter in 6 days, staying on well to take the 2m handicap hurdle on Saturday.

Todays meeting at Worcester sees the first of five evening fixtures this summer and this one features the annual Hargreave Hale Stockbrokers hunters’ chase. This has great local significance as it is the only race we stage with the restrictive condition that all the horses entered must have qualified in the West Midlands point to point area, including Worcestershire and the adjacent counties. Amongst the entries for this year’s race is the Queen’s Barber’s Shop who is a former Cheltenham Gold Cup runner, trained by Nicky Henderson. Interestingly, Punchestown run their annual Bishop’s Court Cup at the April Festival meeting, which is confined to horses owned by farmers living in the surrounding county of Kildare. Such is the local importance attached to these kinds of races that Hexham have just been granted permission by the BHA to reschedule their Heart of All England Maiden hunters’ chase, a race with a history dating back to 1907, which was lost to waterlogging last week.

With a great evening’s racing in store and sunshine forecast, the gates open at 3.50 pm and the first race is due off at 5.50 pm.

Monday, 14 May 2012

What a difference a week makes!

Can you believe the first set of 6 pictures compared to the bottom pictures? Just over a week ago we had alot of water on the track. We all know how bad the weather had been over the past few weeks, and it looks as if the racecourse got the brunt of it! What a cracking job the estates team did to get the racecourse into such cracking condition!