National Hunt racing returned last weekend following the short September break. The Worcester meeting prior to the break saw the ever-popular Hunt Ball return to the track after his hurdle win here in May (pictured coming into the Winners Enclosure further down the blog). This was to be his prep run prior to the American Grand National on the 18th October. Having enjoyed a short holiday over the summer, the 2012 Cheltenham Festival winner was a picture of calm and confidence with ears pricked as he jumped to perfection and enjoyed his tussle to the line with two time Worcester winner, Mont Choisy, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies. Jockey Andrew Tinkler, who will ride Hunt Ball in the big race in next month, commented that he loved the quick ground. Giving weight away all round, Hunt Ball seems to relish small fields, as all three of his hurdling wins have come in four runner races.
Sarah Henderson, daughter of trainer Nicky Henderson, accompanied the ten year old to Worcester and commented with a tinge of sadness, that Hunt Ball will travel to New York early in October and following the race in which he came 9th in 2013, he will remain in the US and run over timber under a new trainer.
Hanley Swan trainer, David Dennis enjoyed further success at his local track on the same card when he sent out King’s Song to win the second division of the Hands and Heels handicap hurdle under amateur rider, Zak Baker. However, there was a sting in the tail for Baker who broke the rules of the race by tapping his mount with the whip on the landing side of the last hurdle, which duly cost him a 7 day riding ban.
There is a new 95 minute documentary film on the horizon which will certainly be a must-see for all National Hunt racing fans. The film has also been targeted at a much wider audience appeal with its tale of thrills, spills and brutal honesty.
Underlining its star quality, ‘Being AP’ was nominated from 6,000 films to one of only 400 screened at the Toronto International Film Festival last week. The story follows AP McCoy’s final season in the saddle, although when the filming began, the crew had no idea it was to be the 20 times champion’s farewell season.
The early part of the story focuses on the extensive injuries McCoy sustained throughout his remarkable career and it includes a clip of his serious fall at Worcester last autumn, resulting in the shoulder injury which put paid to his dream of riding 300 winners in a season. The film has its UK premier on the 23rd November and will be in cinemas from the 27th.
Worcester Racecourse is pleased to support the national Macmillan coffee morning fundraising at its race meeting tomorrow, when gates will open from 12.20pm