Monday, 16 December 2013


As the jumps season hits full swing, with some brilliant National Hunt meetings across the country, the pitchcroft course, and the home of summer jumps, lies in wait for the May 7th season opener. However we are still open for business in the Grandstand, where after a wonderful Christmas Party Night on Friday we have two remaining, staged in our Croft Suite, this coming Friday and Saturday. For all event enquiries give us a call on 01905 25364.

Struggling for that perfect Christmas present for a racing enthusiast? Our annual memberships make the perfect gift, and if purchased before Christmas, our fabulous early bird discount will be applied.

On the racing front, the team here would like to send our congratulations to a few remarkable individuals in the racing industry, first and foremost to AP McCoy for his 3rd place in the Sports Personality of the Year, only finishing behind 2013 sports superstars, Andy Murray and Leigh Halfpenny. Our congratulations also go out to connections of the excellent 'As I Am' who recorded an impressive grade 1 victory on Hennessey Day at Newbury, the mare became somewhat of a course regular here in 2013, winning on 3 of her 4 starts.

Friday, 15 November 2013

St Richard's Hospice

It's been nearly a month since we last raced here, it'll be no time at all before that season opener on the evening of May 7th comes around. Since we last blogged McCoy racked up those few wins required to get him over the 4,000 line, congratulations AP! We're all very excited to see the champ in action next season here as he embarks upon his quest for the next milestone, maybe even pushing us to the top of the pile for racecourse wins in the process.

Whilst the off season marks a quieter period in the Worcester Racecourse calendar, we do have a number of exciting events, business and leisure, happening here that keeps us in action.

An event that we're really looking forward is happening on 5th December, where we will be staging St Richard's Hospice's Festive Lunch, which includes a cookery demonstration from celebrity chef, Marcus Bean, and a unique shopping experience.

There is a fantastic three course menu on offer with some superb options to choose from, followed by a shopping experience including some delicious local foods and exquisite fashion items.

Follow the link for more details on this magnificent event and how you can book your place:

Our relationship with this brilliant hospice doesn't stop here, we are proud to sponsor St Richard's Hospice car raffle, check out the YouTube video now:

Purchase your tickets now for just £1 to be in with a chance of winning this amazing prize!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

2013 Season

The 2013 season has been another memorable one at Worcester, with some superb racing across our 21 fixtures. Record crowds visited us on some of our feature race days, including another glamorous Ladies Evening, two Family Fun Day's featuring Peppa Pig and Fireman Sam, and the award winning Pershore Plum Festival, which has just picked up the award for the best Worcestershire festival for the third year running!

Jonjo O'Neill picked up both the leading stable staff award and leading trainer award, A P McCoy is pictured below collecting the leading trainer award on behalf of Jonjo at our final fixture. The special award for stable staff, open to yards with less than 30 horses in training, went to Sarah Jayne Davies' yard, Jeremy Mahot is pictured below collecting the award on behalf of Sarah.

McCoy has been stealing the headlines of late with his run up to 4,000 winners, 'Transfer' (pictured winning at our October 10th fixture) just one of the 3,998 winners to his name currently. Two winners from his three rides this afternoon at Exeter will see him cross that 4,000 mark.

McCoy's decorated career includes 263 winners here at the Pitchcroft course, putting us 2nd on his list of course winners, only 1 behind Newton Abbott.

The racecourse team would like to thank you for visiting us during another brilliant season at the home of summer jumps racing! 

The 2014 fixtures are now on the website and annual membership is available to purchase, the perfect gift for a racing enthusiast. 

Friday, 18 October 2013

Final Fixture of 2013

The successful season of summer jump racing at Worcester reaches a climax with the final meeting on Wednesday 23rd October.

Entries are strong for what promises to be a very exciting day.  The card includes three annual memorial races, including the feature Fred Rimell Memorial Novices Chase commemorating the training achievements of the five times champion trainer who won the Grand National on four separate occasions.  The race, which was won last year by the Venetia Williams trained Houblon Des Obeaux, has been a stepping stone to better things in the past for horses such as The Giant Bolster, Pride of Dulcote and Idle Talk.

The Richard Davis Memorial Handicap Chase remembers the talents of the jockey who so sadly lost his life during a race.  Each year we welcome Richard’s parents, John and Ann and his twin brothers, Stephen and Andrew to Worcester to present the magnificent Philip Blacker bronze trophy in Richard’s memory.
The annual Richard Wright Memorial Handicap Chase remembers the local businessman who had a love for racing and deep affection for Worcestershire.

The Red Mills sponsored Leading Trainer award will be presented to runaway winner, Jonjo O’Neill on Wednesday, however second place honours to be decided between Peter Bowen and Tim Vaughan will go to the wire as they are currently neck and neck in the table.

The Leading Jockey is also a foregone conclusion as champion Tony McCoy had this all sewn up from midway through the season.  Nearest rival, Sam Twiston-Davies currently stands in second place, with Richard Johnson in third.

The sponsor the stable staff awards at Worcester each season and offer two awards, one for yards with thirty or more horses in training and one for yards with less.  The first award will also be decided on Wednesday as there are just three points currently separating the yards of Jonjo O’Neill, Donald McCain and Tim Vaughan.  The second award looks a clear run thing for newcomer to the training ranks, Sarah-Jayne Davies who had her first ever winner under rules at Worcester in the summer.

As the curtain falls on the 2013 season, there is so much to look forward to in 2014.  With the new fixture list confirmed, Worcester will stage more fixtures than we have for a good number of years, all pointing to a busy summer on the banks of the river Severn.

The full list of 2014 fixtures will be on the website shortly and announced immediately after via our social media feeds.

Monday, 19 August 2013

A look ahead to racing........

It’s a bit like London buses. We had a gap between race meetings and then stage 3 fixtures in 8 days.  This means busy days for the ground staff, preparing the track and finding the delicate balance between the forecasted rain and the irrigation system to produce as near to ‘good’ ground as is possible. 

As I Am, trained by Don Cantillon is an interesting contender for mare’s races going forward.  By Old Vic, the filly has won 4 of her last 5 outings, two of those at Worcester.

On Tuesday, giving plenty of weight away, the one-eyed five year old made all to win by 19 lengths.  She is a spirited sort and her trainer had the measure of her, pacing round the parade ring just ahead, whistling to keep her calm before the race.  It’s a formula that obviously works.

Claines trained Anton Dolin put a terrible run at Stratford behind him to follow up his recent Worcester win by taking the concluding handicap hurdle for Richard Newland.

Irish jockey Tom O’Brien came to the course for just two rides and was successful on both.  Anton Dolin was one, and the other was a surprise victory, even for connections.

Harangue, trained in County Galway by Paul Gilligan was the longest distance traveller of the meeting.  Sent off at odds of 33-1, his 3 most recent starts had resulted in defeat by a total of 187 lengths.   He must have had a good English breakfast because the five year old stormed home in the 2 mile 7 furlong handicap hurdle by 6 lengths.

It was Gilligan’s first runner at the course.  Another trainer trying Worcester for the first time was Mick Quinn.  Predominantly operating on the flat, Quinn formerly played centre forward for Liverpool and Newcastle. His horse Royal Defence came fourth in the novice handicap hurdle.

The real highlight of the day was the phenomenal ride given to Jonjo O’Neill’s Temple Lord in the handicap chase by Tony McCoy.  The grey’s only previous win came in 2009 at Folkestone where there was only one other finisher. To say the horse ran reluctantly is an understatement.  He was 8 lengths down at the last with 3 others between him and the winning post.  Somehow McCoy managed to get his nose in front on the line and was cheered not only by the crowd as he re-entered the parade ring, but also by various bookmakers, all aware that they were yet again witnessing a genius at his craft.

Wins on Rebecca Curtis’ Anger Management and O’Neill’s Don’t Be Late followed for McCoy.  No sooner had he weighed in after the 4.30pm ride on the aptly named Don’t Be Late, than he was off to ride for Warren Greatrex in the 5.50pm at Stratford.  A race he also won.

The fifth winner of the day for the incredible jockey was aboard Listen and Learn for boss, JP McManus.  The admiration for his amazing horsemanship continued well into the night on social media.

Today’s afternoon racing is an event incorporated into the Worcester Festival, whilst tomorrow’s meeting is the final evening fixture of the summer at Worcester.



Tuesday, 30 July 2013

A review of racing on 24th July and a look ahead to 30th.

Back in 1964, the Beatles told us money Can’t Buy Me Love and as I have highlighted in the past, it can’t always buy success either.

At Pitchcroft on Wednesday, there were five horses running who have changed hands at some point in their careers for over 100,000 Euros. None of these have recouped their purchase price to date.

Petroupetrov trained by Tim Vaughan was the first of these and unfortunately he finished lame in the opening chase.

In the fourth, we had Naledi and Royal Trooper.    Naledi is trained in Hereford by Richard Price and prior to this meeting, had only won one race from 58 starts.  Indeed the form in the racecard read: ‘Poor maiden hurdler who is unlikely to gain his first success here.’  However, with skilful steering by Thomas Garner, he was involved in a driving finish with AP McCoy aboard Royal Trooper.  McCoy looked the certain winner between the last two hurdles but Naledi stuck his nose out to win by a very close margin.  At the age of 9, he will never be a world beater, but something’s finally clicked.

This brings me to the other two horses, both of whom ran in the final hurdle of the day.

Record Breaker was from the Donald McCain yard, and Advisor is trained much closer to home at Hindlip by Martin Weston.

Advisor is an ex flat horse who used to be owned by the Royal Ascot Racing Club.  Now at the age of 7 his jumping career has included a spell with Paul Nicholls during which time he was ridden by Ruby Walsh to 11th place in the 2010 Triumph hurdle at Cheltenham.

Having been placed 3rd at Worcester in June, he travelled on the bridle for the trainer’s son, Tom to record an easy 12 length victory, his first since winning at Hereford in December 2011. Record Breaker finished fifth.

Jonjo O’Neill’s Another Hero was potentially the best horse on the card.  The 4 year old is unbeaten and has won both his bumpers as well as two novice hurdles.  O’Neill is quoted as saying the horse loves the summer ground, so it will be interesting to see if he can also cope with softer conditions in the winter and realise his potential.

Tony McCoy rode his 50th winner of the season at Stratford. His target of riding 50 winners before this week’s Galway Festival is all the more remarkable when you think he missed the first six weeks of the new season through injury.

A Galway bound horse on Wednesday, is Claines trained Changing the Guard who is going to the meeting with a good chance.  A former Worcester runner up, the horse won the 2 mile novice chase at Newton Abbot last week, continuing the current run of good form for his trainer, Richard Newland.

Tomorrow evening sees a special annual meeting at Pitchcroft, the Pershore Plum Festival Family evening.  All races are sponsored by different Pershore businesses, and with the re-running of the Land O’Plums chase, the Pensham Selling Hurdle and the Tiddesley Wood Yellow Egg Plum handicap hurdle, there is a real local flavour to be savoured by all racegoers.


Evening racing at Worcester continues tonight with gates opening at 3.50pm.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

A review of racing on 17th July and a look ahead to 24th.

The heat has different effects on us all, equine and human.  For some, it improves our performance and for others, we do things which we would not normally do.

On the hottest race day of the year at Worcester so far, Lawney Hill who trains in Oxfordshire ran Cap Elorn in the opening novice handicap chase last week.

The horse’s results to date were 0 from 11 starts and the expectation of a win was therefore, understandably not that high.

However, with the stable in good form, win he did, having been well beaten at the course the previous week.

The trainer clearly thought she was safe in announcing she would jump into the large plastic pool in the middle of the parade ring, which is intended for cooling horses, if he did get his nose in front.  It was a good job she was wearing shorts for her dip!

The current warm spell is undoubtedly having an effect on the number of horses running at all the courses, as some trainers wait for the weather to break.

Declarations at Worcester have held up better than some, with 73 horses intended to run at the course last week, and entries for tomorrow’s race afternoon looking strong.

The very successful Jonjo O’Neill / Tony McCoy machine marches on.  Arriving at Pitchcroft via helicopter after a combined afternoon win at Uttoxeter, O’Neill and McCoy teamed up at our evening meeting for a JP McManus owned double, courtesy of Whistling Senator and Don’t Be Late.  O’Neill summed up the wins as ‘a good day at the office’.

Another trainer currently at the top of his game is Peter Bowen, whose only Worcester runner last week, the flat bred G’Dai Sydney followed up his Stratford win with a victory in the bumper contributing to his trainer’s current strike rate of almost 40%.

There were big celebrations in Claines over the weekend when Richard Newland’s Bobowen won the listed Market Rasen Summer Plate over 2 miles and 6 furlongs.

Newland ran 3 horses in the race and was rewarded with top honours by the Sam Twisten-Davies ridden Bobowen, who also ran at Worcester earlier in the month.

Indeed, the first 3 horses home in that feature race, including the winner, Paul Nicholls’ Woolcombe Folly who came second and third placed former Cheltenham Festival winner, Finger on the Pulse, trained by Jonjo O’Neill have all run at Worcester this summer.

This warm weather takes me back a few years to a trip during the same week to Jersey’s Les Landes racecourse, for what was a very hot Channel Islands Champion hurdle day.

For anyone who has never been to this delightful course, I can highly recommend a visit.  The track sits balanced on the cliff tops overlooking the sea and a sloping bank of grass provides the ideal viewing spot, negating the need for a Grandstand.

The 2013 Champion hurdle run at the course last week was won by I Had Him, owned by a delighted Sir Alex Ferguson, who described himself as ‘over the moon’ with the result.

Afternoon racing at Worcester continues tomorrow with gates opening at 12.20pm.




Tuesday, 16 July 2013

A review of racing from 10th July and a look ahead to 17th July.

The old adage, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again finally bore fruit for owner, James Boughey at last week’s Worcester meeting.  Boughey, who has waited 27 years for his first winner was rewarded for his faith when the Nick Mitchell trained Band of Thunder beat champion jockey, Tony McCoy on Chosen Dream by 8 lengths in the novice handicap hurdle.  The success was also a relief to the trainer who had not saddled a winner for 9 months.

A filly who has already had her nose in front at Pitchcroft this summer is Alan King’s Fairyinthewind.  The four year old chestnut followed up her mare’s maiden hurdle victory in April with another impressive performance under Wayne Hutchinson in the handicap hurdle, appreciating the quick summer ground.

Tony McCoy is now well established at the top of Worcester’s leading jockey table and added to his tally with victories aboard the Jonjo O’Neill trained Whistling Senator and Rebecca Curtis’ Scoter Fontaine.  Whilst Scoter Fontaine’s win was not unexpected, O’Neill was surprised and delighted to see Whistling Senator cajoled to win under a masterful ride as he had ‘run a stinker last time and had shown very little at home.’  O’Neill had considered not even running the horse.

We are at the half way point in our summer racing season and the meetings just seem to have flown by.  What a difference a year makes. Currently enjoying a rare heat wave, a year ago the meeting scheduled for this week was lost to a waterlogged track following 9mm of rain falling in just 30 minutes onto already saturated ground on the day of racing.

A different kind of effort is going into producing the ground conditions for this year’s meetings.  Whilst last year we had to deploy pumps around the course to divert the standing water to the basin in the centre, this year the ground staff are watering the course daily, abstracting the water from the River Severn to keep the surface safe for the horses.  It is ironic when you think back just a few months to the winter flooding when river water was really the last thing we wanted on the track.

In a week when a certain royal birth is on everyone’s minds, I am delighted that one of our mares at home has just been confirmed in foal to Malinas.  My husband bought Kicks Milan at the November Fairyhouse sales as a foal and now at the age of six she has had three recent bumper runs for us.  The mare is well bred, a cousin to the useful David Pipe trained Junior, but as we all know breeding is not guaranteed to bring racecourse results and a career as a brood mare now beckons.

Malinas sired Medinas, the six year old winner of the Coral Cup at Cheltenham this year.  If Kicks Milan and Malinas can produce a similar sort of result, it would truly make our day!

Weekly racing at Worcester continues tomorrow evening with the first race at 5.50pm.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Free Radio Worcestershire Walk for Kids - Sunday 7th July.

What do you get when you cross a well organised charity walk from Malvern to Worcester, a gloriously sunny day and a lot of happy people relaxing in the sunshine at Worcester Racecourse?   Answer : The Free Radio Worcestershire Walk for Kids on Sunday, which raised a fabulous £124,070 for three really worthy local charities: Acorns Children’s Hospice, Megan Baker Home and New Hope.  The Racecourse was proud to host the finish of this wonderful event for the second year running, in which 3,000 men, women and children signed up for the walk to raise money for the charities.  The Racecourse was a sea of bright green, as the walkers dressed in lime green wigs, skirts and t-shirts were greeted by well wishers and supporters, all enjoying the live music outside the Grandstand.  Free massage offered by the University was even on hand to ease weary limbs.   All in all, it was an excellent day and we look forward to welcoming many of those who enjoyed their day here on Sunday, back to the racecourse for the race days and evenings this summer.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

A review of Family Fun Day (23rd June) and a look forward to racing on July 3rd

It has been a rather royal month in one way or another and we all feel that bit better for it.

The Racecourse's Fireman Sam day last Sunday was promoted at the Malvern Royal Three Counties Show, resulting in the largest crowd for a family raceday since 2010. Royal Ascot was nothing short of a delight. To see our Queen watching her filly, Estimate win the Gold Cup was heart warming to say the least. Alongside her racing manager John Warren, who was unable to control his infectious enthusiasm as the filly approached the line, the Queen's smile spread like warmth on a cold day and it was simply a pleasure to witness.

Another person delighted with his winner at the royal meeting was Worcester's leading trainer, Jonjo O'Neill. Defying odds of 9-1, Well Sharp beat the Lady Cecil trained favourite, Tiger Cliff. 

Summer specialist, Peter Bowen celebrated a treble at Worcester in the week, to help cement his position in the national trainer's table. The day began with decent stayer Buachaill Alainn winning his first novice chase. Bowen rates the horse highly and has aspirations he may be a Grand National prospect for the future.

King's Theatre filly Handmaid, related to Ascot Chase winner Hand Inn Hand, won the first division of the mare's bumper, while first time visored Mighty Clarets took the handicap hurdle giving Bowen his 10th winner from the last 19 runners - five others having been placed.

High profile owners continue to win at Worcester. Bloodstock agent to Quatar Racing, David Redvers was represented at the course last week by his mother Mary, who stepped up to receive the trophy won by Redvers' Pectora in the second division of the bumper.

Diana Whateley added to her recent success at the course with Tornado Bob when the Philip Hobbs trained Keki Buku won Wednesday's feature chase under Richard Johnson.

It is rare to see an Andrea and Graham Wylie owned horse run at Worcester, so it was good that Roger Beantown trained by Paul Nicholls won the recent feature novice chase in the hands of Daryl Jacob.

Claines trainer, Richard Newland has his small string in superb form at the moment. Anton Dolin had two visits to the course in three days, coming a close second at the first attempt and going one better at the second time of asking. Sam Twiston-Davies is riding a number of the Newland horses now and he was on the mark with the trainer's Changing the Guard, the first leg of a local double at Newton Abbott in the week.

Changing the Guard was having his debut over fences and they must be to his liking as he saw off Tom George's smart horse, Baby Mix by 7 lengths in the 2 mile novice chase. The second leg of the double went to Green Lightning trained by Martin Weston at Hindlip, who has been placed at Worcester twice this summer. Ridden by son, Tom, Green Lightning won the selling handicap hurdle on the bridle and was subsequently bought by Peter Bowen for 7,400 gns.

Weekly Wednesday racing at Worcester continues tomorrow afternoon when gates open at 2.20pm.

Buachaill Alainn (Jamie Moore)

Friday, 21 June 2013

A review of recent racing at Worcester Racecourse and a look forward to Sunday 23rd June

Race meetings have come thick and fast at Worcester recently, with three in eleven days. It is important to be busy, however with two popular annual Stratford evening fixtures sandwiched in that period, coupled with the fact that there are only so many people who choose to go racing over eleven days in any one concentrated area, it lends weight to the argument that race planning sometimes needs more thought and at times, there can be just too much racing. Having said that, our meetings were well supported as well as being competitive.

The second fixture saw a welcome win following a lean period for the Ian Williams yard from Alvechurch. Williams brought a football theme to the evening with his two runners. Leath Acra Mor took the handicap hurdle under top weight for owners John O Shea, Stephen Hunt and Craig Gardner, and in the concluding race, hot favourite Tadabeer who is co-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson was just touched off into third place.

Our most recent meeting last week was staged on a very sad day for racing. Sir Henry Cecil had passed away that morning and as a mark of respect to allow time for reflection, we held a minute’s silence as the runners walked quietly round the parade ring before the first race.

On a happier note, Donald McCain had a successful trip down from Cheshire with a double on the night. Separate Shadows, who got his nose in front in the novice hurdle, runs in the very famous Crazy Quilt colours, now belonging to Howard Spooner. These extremely distinctive colours are totally unique and used to belong to the Crazy Gang of comedians in the 1960’s. Almost certainly, colours like these would never be issued today.

Another notable owner was delighted with her McCain trained winner on the night. Diana Whateley, whose other horses include Menorah and Captain Chris, was particularly pleased to see confidence restored to first time blinkered Tornado Bob in the handicap hurdle after a very bad fall at Haydock.

Last weekend, we had a stand at the Royal Three Counties Show in Malvern. It was an excellent opportunity to meet many regular racegoers as well as making new acquaintances over the three days. On a wet weather walkabout, I was greatly interested to stumble across the 2004 Grand National third placed horse, Lord Atterbury, formerly with David Pipe, who at the age of 17 had been retrained and was enthusiastically taking part in the horse boarding slalom competition. It was a sport I had not previously come across but found riveting to watch.

The equestrian classes at the show included one for ‘race horse to riding horse’. It is always reassuring to hear of new avenues of activity for ex race horses.

Another big family event is due this Sunday at Pitchcroft. Our race day will include appearances by Fireman Sam, plus a charity Mascot Race in aid of The Children’s Trust with 19 mascots taking part at 2.30pm. The gates open at 11.50am.

Separate Shadows (Jason Maguire)

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

A review of the scintillating CrownGate Ladies Day at Worcester Racecourse

If ever there was a champagne moment, it was at Worcester Racecourse on Saturday afternoon. On a day when record crowds enjoyed the racing whilst basking in the sunshine on the banks of the river Severn, an emotional owner welcomed his horse back into the parade ring, having won the feature race of the day.

Peter Bowling is a great friend to the Racecourse and over several years has had 11 runners at the course, resulting in seven winners, two seconds and one third placed horse, with only one unplaced finisher. That is a wonderful strike rate for any owner. Pure Faith, trained in Wales by Peter Bowen gave Bowling his 25th winner under rules when, at odds of 20-1 he saw off Venetia Williams’ Ciceron in the Chemical Corporation 30th Anniversary Valerie Lewis Memorial handicap chase.

Formerly running against horses of the calibre of Kauto Star and Albertas Run, Pure Faith has dropped in the handicap in the last couple of years. Jim Lewis was on hand to present Bowling and co-owner, Simon Scott with the impressive annual silver trophy. Bowling’s former star, Swansea Bay, who included two Badger Ales Chases, the Edward Hamner Chase and six wins from six starts at Worcester in his winning tally, is the most successful horse at the course in recent times.

Ruby Walsh’s decision last week to step down as number one stable jockey to former Champion trainer, Paul Nicholls will be much to the benefit of Daryl Jacob who now moves up to the coveted position at the Ditcheat stables. Jacob wasted little time in notching up his first winner since Walsh’s announcement and this was aboard Saint Roque in the handicap hurdle at Worcester on Saturday. The horse was following up a Fontwell win a week earlier and will probably go chasing from here due to an inevitable rise in the weights over hurdles.

Champion jockey AP McCoy was also on the score sheet on Saturday and has already taken the lead in the Worcester jockey table in defence of his 2012 title, following a delayed start due to injury. McCoy steered an exciting new JP McManus owned prospect home for trainer, Jonjo O’Neill in the second division of the bumper. Another Hero, who cost his owner 50,000 Euros, is a half brother to Supreme Novice winner, Back in Front and following his impressive debut under rules, the four year old is definitely one to watch going forward.

In further news of recent Worcester winners, Anquetta was recently sold at the DBS Doncaster sales for £24,000 to Cheltenham Gold Cup winning owner, Robert Waley-Cohen. The horse rewarded his new owner and jockey son, Sam by taking the two mile handicap chase at Newton Abbott under top weight and will remain on the go through the summer, staying on at Nicky Henderson’s Seven Barrows yard.

Interestingly, three of the victors from the 12th May meeting at Worcester have all come out and been successful again next time out, within two and a half weeks. The other two horses being Royal Knight, trained in Claines, and My Lad Percy.

We are hoping the weather stays fair for the evening meeting on Thursday when the first race is due off at 5.55pm.

Pure Faith (Tom O'Brien)

Friday, 31 May 2013

A look back at recent racing at Worcester Racecourse and a look forward to the CrownGate Ladies Day

The phrase ‘you get what you pay for' regularly rings true in life, but not necessarily when it comes to buying racehorses, it would seem.

A good example is the Paul Nicholls trained Italian Master, owned by John Hales, who faded into third in his debut chase at Worcester last week. The son of Milan cost £240,000 at the Cheltenham Brightwell sales in 2011 following his solo victory in an Irish point to point.

Now a 7 year old, the form to date includes second in a jumper's bumper at Wolverhampton in January and third and fourth over novice hurdles at Newbury and Cheltenham in March and April respectively. The total prize money return under rules races to date reads £3,282.

Contrast this with another 7 year old, trained locally at Claines by Richard Newland. Smalib Monterg was bought by Newland out of a Ludlow claiming race just over a year ago for 6,000 gns. Diminutive for a thoroughbred, last week he notched up another victory in a handicap hurdle at Newton Abbott under Sam Twiston-Davies, having finished second at Aintree just three days earlier. The prize money amassed to date by this horse is £40,142.

It just goes to show it's not how much you spend but how you spend it, and with racing, a little luck also goes a long way.

An in-form trainer with a winner at Worcester last week was former assistant to Nigel Twiston-Davies, Fergal O'Brien. Double Silver, who beat Italian Master in the beginner's chase, was bred at home by Mary Mayall, wife of the owner and gave O'Brien his 12th winner from 25 previous runners. This is an impressive strike rate of almost 50%.

Two Worcester winners from the 12th May meeting have come out and claimed victory again this week.

Richard Newland's Royale Knight enjoyed bottom weight in Kelso's feature chase over the weekend, recording an 11 length victory and earning connections a further £9,747.

My Lad Percy, trained by Rebecca Curtis won a handicap hurdle at Uttoxeter over a shorter than ideal trip of 2 miles 4 furlongs and will now be stepped up in distance.

Bank Holiday Monday saw the last of 5 Point to Points staged at Chaddesley Corbett this season. This is one of Britain's busiest point to point courses where annual meetings are staged for the Harkaway Club, the Albrighton, the Wheatland, the Worcestershire and the Albrighton Woodland hunts.

Preparations are well underway at Pitchcroft for the feature meeting of the season tomorrow. CrownGate Ladies Day, which is traditionally in aid of St Richard's Hospice, will feature two special memorial races on the card.

The Chemical Corporation 30th Anniversary Valerie Lewis Memorial Chase always provides us with the chance to welcome Best Mate's owner, Jim Lewis to the course.

The John Burke Memorial Novices Handicap chase is run to celebrate the life of the jockey who in 1976 became just the fifth in history to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same year, on Royal Frolic and Rag Trade respectively.

Gates open at 11.30am tomorrow, and the first race is due off at 1.55pm.

(Italian Master, ridden by Daryl Jacob)

Join our Young Hooves Kids Club!

Are your young ones big fans of horse racing? Do they enjoy cheering on their horses at the races? Then why not sign them up to our brand new, Young Hooves Kids Club.

Singing up to the Young Hooves Kids Club is completely FREE and there is no cost or membership attached. Members of the Kids Club will initially receive a goody bag including:

• A welcome booklet with puzzles and information about horses
• A certificate for becoming a member of the 
• A members badge
• Binoculars 
• Crayons

Members will also have access to games and information on our great Kids Club website!

Archie, the ARC mascot will also send a special birthday treat to members.

It is a fantastic way to engage young children into this great sport of ours and we hope you will join up and enjoy your time as a Young Hooves Kids Club member.

Sign up now...

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Owners and Trainers take centre stage with complimentary food in new policy

A standardised policy for Owners and Trainers benefits has been created across 14 of the racecourses in the Arena Racing Company (“ARC”) group. Adding to the recent announcement of an increase in prize money and the additional free entry to all of ARC’s courses for annual members, the Group has now announced a major overhaul of its Owners and Trainers policy.

ARC has spent the time to review the policies across the group, listening to Owners and Trainers and discussing plans with the Racehorse Owners Association. Complimentary food, tea and coffee has now been introduced for all owners and trainers with runners on the day, and a complimentary owners annual car park label will be issued to those with runners to ensure a smooth start to the day – and for those lucky enough to have a winner - a bottle of champagne, a trophy, a DVD and a framed photograph will be awarded by the racecourse to celebrate a good end to the day.

Complimentary Badges will be allocated with six being issued to sole owners and eight to partnerships, and all fixtures will be included in the ROA Owners Badge Scheme, which offers qualifying members free entrance to participating racecourses.

Furthermore at some courses, additional facilities have been made available. At Fontwell Park the Grade II Listed Fontwell House in the picturesque gardens has been converted to an Owners and Trainers Facility.

Jim Allen, Racing Director at ARC said: “We recognise the importance of the race day experience to owners and we were keen to ensure a consistent standard across all of our racecourses, many of whom were already offering a great deal of benefits to owners. We have listened to owners and trainers and we know that this enhanced package will be welcomed by them. Wherever possible we are keen to react to feedback from our customer groups and organisations, such as the ROA to help us achieve high levels of customer satisfaction” 

Full details of all the new benefits on offer will be sent to all owners and trainers in a newsletter which outlines the policies in detail.

These improved benefits follow on the announcement last month of prize money increases. In 2013 total prize money at ARC operated tracks will reach £24.3m, an increase of 18.5% on 2012’s total of £20.5m

The ARC Group's executive contribution now totals £9.6m, which amounts to a 166% increase over the last three years, £6.0m more than that which was paid in 2010.

Richard Wayman, Chief Executive of the Racehorse Owners Association said:
“The ROA welcomes ARC’s enhanced offering for owners and their commitment to improving the owners’ raceday experience. It is essential that whenever an owner has a runner, they feel valued by the racecourse and its staff, and ARC deserves credit for increasing its investment in the levels of customer service that it will provide across all of its courses.”

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

A Review of racing from 12th May & a look forward to racing on 22nd May

It’s no wonder we have a quaintly British fascination with the weather at the Racecourse, when months of careful planning for a big family raceday are scuppered by a dismal forecast and rain which starts, right on 12 noon, just as gates open.

Not to be deterred by the unseasonable conditions, local horse Royale Knight stayed on well to the line to win the second chase on the card. Trained at Claines by Dr Richard Newland, Royale Knight, who is out of Gardana by Kings Theatre was bred in Hanbury by Robert Chugg.

Sold by Chugg for 30,000 gns, the horse had a spell in Ireland before returning to his home county and notching up a four timer last autumn for Newland. The gelding is a full brother to the useful Charlie Longsdon trained / Robert Waley-Cohen owned Frisco Depot, who ran in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Newland was busy at the DBS sales in Doncaster in the week, selling and re-stocking his string.

Another horse to grace the sales was Anquetta, trained by Nicky Henderson. Having won the £20,000 feature handicap chase at Worcester on Sunday by a length from Paul Nicholls’ Woolcombe Folly, the horse was sold to Highflyer Bloodstock for 24,000 gns.

I feel it important to draw attention to further episodes of wanton vandalism at the Racecourse, by mindless individuals with nothing better to do.  New owners, ARC have invested in the course this year for the good of racegoers and local people who enjoy a stroll by the river and within a matter of days new turnstiles were trashed, the marquee was broken into, copious amounts of running rail was ripped down and irrigation pipes were torn apart and scattered. It is extremely frustrating.

On a more positive note, Cropthorne trainer Tony Carroll had a winner with Le Bacardy at Kempton’s final spring jumps fixture and Alexandra Dunn from Himbleton, who has recently set up a training yard in Somerset, rode Double Mead to victory in a hunter chase at Fontwell.

The indomitable Tony McCoy returned to action at Ludlow, following a month on the sidelines with fractured ribs following a fall from Quantitativeeasing at Cheltenham. In true grit style, McCoy’s first ride was a winning one aboard the Jonjo O’Neill trained Church Field in a novice handicap hurdle.

Encouraging entries for Worcester’s meeting tomorrow evening include a record number in the annual Hargreave Hale hunter chase, which is the first race on the card. Horses entered for this race must have qualified with one of 13 hunts in the West Midlands area and so a local winner is assured.

Another annual feature of this race meeting is the presentation of the Richard Davis award by Richard’s family and supported by the Cheltenham and Three Counties Race Club, to the top conditional jockey riding at Cheltenham, Chepstow, Ludlow, Stratford, Towcester, Warwick and Worcester racecourses over the past 12 months. This year’s trophy will be awarded to Michael Nolan.

The first race is due off at 5.50pm and the St Richard’s Hospice Panto Horse Race is at 6.30pm.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Get glammed up….for CrownGate Ladies Day: It’s nearly here!

CrownGate Ladies Day, on Saturday June 1st at Worcester Racecourse, is on its way – offering the perfect excuse to get yourself a new outfit and ramp up the glamour.

So what are the hottest trends to be seen in if you are heading along to the day itself?

House of Fraser, CrownGate’s Ladies Day event partner, will be hosting a live fashion show on the main stage on the day, showcasing the latest trends to hit its shelves, featuring brands including Linea, Untold, French Connection, Coast and Biba.

If you are currently planning your outfit, bold colours are a must this season – think hot pink, coral, orange and electric blue – ladies, if you aren’t quite ready to embrace a standout colour-block dress, use accessories like a clutch bag, blazer or pair of statement shoes to add that flash of colour to a neutral outfit.

Dune is a winner for fabulous footwear, with studded, jewelled and gold-trimmed styles that are sure to attract compliments, while Oasis, Warehouse and Mango are rocking an array of blazers in all cuts and colours.

Graphic prints are high in this season’s fashion stakes – from linear, digital designs to abstract, watercolour styles in fresh, attention-grabbing colours.  Pied a Terre is perfect for beautiful, floral designs that shout summer.

Just like the colours, accessories themselves are vying for attention.  Biba’s beautiful range of clutch bags and belts include iridescent finishes, gold buckles and feathers, while Linea’s shoulder-strap, colour-block handbags are ideal for carrying event essentials in style.

Whatever your taste, House of Fraser will ensure you are first past the winning post when it comes to Ladies Day style.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

A Review Of Our Season Opener & A Look Forward To The Worcester News Family Fun Day

How wonderfully fitting that a local family from Hindlip, all of whom are involved in the training of their small string of racehorses, should have their first ever Worcester winner in the opening handicap chase of the new season, a race sponsored by

Ex amateur jockey turned trainer, Martin Weston, who formerly trained the popular point to pointer, Caught at Dawn to win the United Hunt’s Challenge Cup twice at Cheltenham, was delighted with Mount Welcome’s somewhat unexpected performance with son, Tom in the saddle and daughter Charlotte, leading up.

Tom was also on similar form at the North Ledbury point to point on Bank Holiday Monday, steering the Rachel Hobbs trained Ice Cool Benny to victory in the men’s open race.
After the race, Hanley Swan based Hobbs cited Worcester’s annual Hargreave Hale Hunter Chase at the 22nd May evening meeting as the next outing for the horse.

Another trainer having a memorable time in the winner’s enclosure last week was Sarah-Jayne Davies from Leominster. Davies’ gelding Dresden, formerly with Luca Cumani on the flat and also briefly with Donald McCain, was eased down to take the concluding Worcester handicap hurdle under Will Kennedy.  It was an impressive performance under top weight to give Davies, who had recently purchased the horse cheaply at the sales, only her second success under rules.

Davies followed this up at Taunton three days later when Accessallareas, also ridden by Kennedy went on to win the handicap chase.

It has been a busy week for the Yes No Wait Sorries syndicate horse, Well Mett, who made all to take the Worcester Selling hurdle by 14 lengths and was subsequently bought back in by the owners in the auction that followed the race.  A wise move, as three days later the six year old came out and won a handicap hurdle at Bangor-on-Dee on Friday. 
Trained in Gloucestershire by Fergal O’Brien and apparently totally transformed by blinkers, Well Mett’s third outing in seven days saw him just touched off into second place in a handicap hurdle at Exeter on Tuesday evening.

It has been a week in which one door has closed and another has opened.  On a picturesque sunny evening, Cheltenham welcomed racegoers to their final meeting of the season, traditionally a night for the hunter chasers.

At Hereford, they hosted the first of 5 Arab race meetings to be held at the course this summer.  The seven race card was the first to be staged there since the racecourse closed last December.

Looking ahead to this Sunday’s eagerly anticipated Worcester News Family Fun raceday at Worcester, there promises to be plenty of track action to enjoy with good sized fields and the first Class 2, £20K race to be run at the course for several years. 

It is very encouraging to see the levels of prize money increasing at Worcester this year, following the disappointment of the trainer’s boycott in July 2012.  With increased rewards will inevitably come better quality horses adding even more interest to what promises to be an excellent day’s racing.

The gates open on Sunday at 12.15pm.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Season Opener at Worcester Racecourse!

‘Hitting the ground running’ is a great way to describe the terrific buzz at Worcester Racecourse this week as there is much to look forward to for the new season starting tomorrow evening.

This is the first year for Worcester under new owners, Arena Racing Company and there are some great changes at the course for everyone.  Countless pots of paint have been poured into a ‘facelift’ redecoration, increased prize money has been invested and exciting benefit packages for owners, trainers and annual members have been introduced.

On the track, Gavin Armstrong, previously at Folkestone Racecourse, has taken over the reins as Estates Manager and has overseen the preparations for racing.

The winter has been anything but kind in terms of flooding. Anyone who lives locally will have seen the army of photographers taking pictures day after day of the race track under several feet of water.  It is remarkable to see the track now and how well grass can recover from that kind of continual deluge.

There are 21 fixtures scheduled at the course this year, considerably more than have been staged for over 12 years.

The leading jockey and trainer tables after the final meeting in October could not have read more differently.  Champion Tony McCoy ran away with the jockey title but conversely, top trainer honours went down to the final race of the season.  Paul Nicholls picked up his first Worcester trainer’s prize, just pipping Jonjo O’Neill to the post in an extremely closely fought contest spanning the season.  I am quite certain that the rivalry will continue through this year.

On local racing news, the Worcestershire Hunt held their annual Lady Dudley Cup point to point meeting at Chaddesley Corbett last week. Worcester Racecourse was delighted to sponsor the opening Worcestershire Hunt Members, Subscribers and Farmer’s race.  The contest this year attracted 8 entries, some of whom had impressive form under rules.  In a fiercely competitive race where the only male jockey was unseated at the start, sisters Abigail and Josephine Banks from Himbleton finished in first and third places respectively.

Abigail, who steered Hall Kelly to victory for only her second winner as a jockey, came up to receive a magnificent set of silverware which any winning connections would be proud to display on their mantelpiece.

It was very sad to hear this week of the death from colic of well-loved local mare, Lady Rebecca at the age of 21.  Trained at Ross-on-Wye by Venetia Williams during her racing career, she cost only 400 gns but after 13 wins from 19 starts, which included three Cleeve Hurdles, she amassed prize money of £160,000 before retiring to Tweenhills Stud in Gloucestershire.

To end on a very different note, I must mention the might that is Sprinter Sacre and applaud his amazing season culminating in the treble of victories at Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown. We can’t promise Sprinter Sacre at Worcester tomorrow night, but can promise a card of competitive racing and a great night to start the season.

The first race tomorrow is due off at 5.15pm and the gates open from 3.15pm.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Worcester Racecourse launches a 'Home and Away' initiative for Annual Members

Worcester Racecourse launches a ‘Home and Away' initiative with FREE Racing available to Annual Members.

Get yourself signed up now to an Annual Membership at Worcester Racecourse to gain a whole host of benefits!

Worcester Racecourse is part of the Arena Racing Company (ARC) and as the largest racecourse operator in the UK, with 15 racecourses spread across the UK, hosting nearly 40% of the fixture list, keen racegoers will never be far away from an opportunity to go racing for free.

An Annual Members benefits package has been created that is rivalled by none other in the racing industry. All Annual Members of Worcester Racecourse will now get free entry to any other ARC racecourse fixture. So don't miss out on the chance to travel the length and breadth of the country and always have a free entrance to a racemeeting at your finger tips.

If you live locally to Worcester Racecourse and take out an annual membership for £275, this will become your ‘home' racecourse and you will get full members benefits, the ‘Away' racecourse is any other you visit in the group and you will be given free access to any enclosure.

But the rewards don't stop there, as plenty of offers & discounts are being given across all the racecourses and 4 complimentary admission tickets valid at any racecourse.

David Roberts, Managing Director at Worcester Racecourse said:

“This new initiative will reward the loyalty of our members and give them an opportunity to try out some of the other racecourses in the group for free. With such a great spread of locations across the country we hope our members will enjoy visiting additional courses. If anyone had been considering taking out an annual membership to our course - this really is the time to do it!"

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Terrific Tuesday as Worcester gates open for season opener!

Racing returns to Worcester on Tuesday 30th April with an evening national hunt fixture! Excitement is in the air as the nights are getting lighter, and what better way to spend an evening than at the picturesque Worcester Racecourse.

We are staging a 7-race national hunt card with the first race starting at 5.15pm and the last race at 8.15pm. Top national hunt trainers and jockeys will be in attendance for a card which features chases, a mares maiden hurdle, and handicap hurdle races.

There will no doubt be a buzz of enthusiasm as the night kicks off with the sprinters taking to the track in a handicap chase over 2 miles. So why not be a part of a night which is destined to be truly enjoyable. Ticket prices start from just £7, fantastic value for money for what is a great evening of sporting entertainment. Additional packages are available, so it is well worth checking our ‘What’s on’ Page for a package which suits your requirements.

Gates open 2 hours before racing starts, so get in early to purchase your racecard, study the form and highlight your selections for the evening. Food and drink will be available within our bars and catering facilities so no need to eat before you come!

We look forward to welcoming you to our season opener at Worcester Racecourse.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Cheltenham Winners

Congratulations from all of us at Worcester to trainer, Colin Tizzard, Jockey, Brendan Powell and owners of Golden Chieftain, Brocade Racing, for winning the JLT Speciality Handicap Chase at Cheltenham yesterday. Golden Chieftain’s last victory was in Worcester’s feature race last October, the Richard Davis Memorial Handicap Chase. Great to see Worcester winners going on to bigger things!

Monday, 11 March 2013

New Chef - New Times!

There’s even more reason to book hospitality (restaurant or private Box / Marquee packages) at Worcester Racecourse this summer following the recent appointment of new Head Chef, Ashley Farran. 

Hot off the press, Ashley has brought fresh ideas to the brand new Corporate Menus which are bursting with mouth watering dishes just waiting to be sampled! As there are only three private Boxes available (for 12 – 42 guests) if it is a Box you are after, it is very advisable to book early for your choice of date – contact the Racecourse office on 01905  25364 or Click Here for more information. 

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Week At Worcester

It’s a busy week at the Racecourse with five days of conferencing in the Grandstand and the Stanworth Fun Fair who have moved into the centre of the course.  The fair will be open to the public from today until the 17th March, so if you are in Worcester, do come down and enjoy the fun!

Preparations for the new racing season are also in full swing. The track has been rolled and slit to allow airflow under the surface, and also harrowed to lift any dead grass. The turf is currently enjoying the light rain prior to being fertilised.  With just a few days to go to the start of the Cheltenham Festival, we will be keen to watch those horses who enjoyed success at Worcester last season take their chance at National Hunt’s pinnacle meeting.  For everyone who enjoys visiting Cheltenham next week, or indeed watches the action on the television, don’t forget to book your tickets for Worcester this summer.  There are 21 fixtures to choose from, starting with the evening meeting on Tuesday 30th April.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Racing countdown is on...

There has been a certain buzz about the racecourse at Worcester this week because at last, the current dry spell is allowing the ground to dry! This has allowed the Estates team  to make good headway with their preparations for the new season, just over 8 weeks away. The new advertising hoarding frame on the home straight leading up to the winning post is being constructed, interest is growing in these prominent annual 20ft x 4ft sites, guaranteed to be seen by tens of thousands of people through the year!

There is a special half price race sponsorship offer available for the first meeting of the season on Tuesday evening, 30th April. This combined with a discounted restaurant package for 4 people would make a great evening out for any family or business occasion. There are only a limited number of races left to sponsor on this date, it is advisable to contact Jenny Cheshire in the racecourse office on 01905 – 25364 without delay for further details.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Annual Members Rewards

This weekend, Worcester Racecourse Annual Members will be meeting up for the first ever stable visit arranged by the course. The Members will visit Graeme McPherson’s yard at Stowe on the Wold to enjoy a morning on the gallops and tour of the yard. Everyone is really looking forward to the event which it is hoped, will be the first stable visit of many in the future.

Top lady point to point rider who has recently taken out a licence to train under rules, Alexandra Dunn from Himbleton near Worcester, trained her first winner at Taunton on Thursday. Arrayan won the opening claiming hurdle, having benefited from a recent prep run at the Jumper’s Bumper meeting at Wolverhampton. Congratulations to Alexandra.