One of the things I most enjoy about the racedays is the interesting people I meet, week after week, both involved directly with the racing and also those visiting the course to enjoy a day out.
Last week I had the pleasure of talking to David Weston, a trainer from West Overton near Marlborough, following the win of his four-year old filly, Solstalla in the mare’s maiden hurdle. Weston’s breeding and training operation is very much a family affair which includes his partner and owner of Solstalla, El Tanner and their children. His national hunt horses, in the main, are ridden by Cheltenham Gold Cup winning jockey, Nico De Boinville, who Weston has known since he was 16.
|Solstalla, ridden by Nico De Boinville with trainer David Weston|
Weston has an impressive strike rate at Worcester. Four of the six horses he has run at the track have won.
Solstalla, who is by Halling out of a mare called Solstice, started her career on the flat and her last win came at Goodwood in 2015 as a three-year old. The filly first ran at Pitchcroft on Pershore Plum Festival raceday in July when she came second, a run she followed up with a further second at Fontwell in August.
Another horse Weston has run at Worcester is the homebred, At First Light. The mare was ridden by De Boinville to win three times from three runs at the course last summer. Last week she had her first run of the season at Uttoxeter where she stayed on well to come second to Tim Vaughan’s Dovil’s Date.
The ‘banker’ of last week’s meeting was Vintage Vinnie who was having his first run of the season, back over hurdles. The son of Vinnie Roe won on the bridle by 16 lengths and obviously goes well fresh because he also started his 2015 season with a win at Worcester last September under Leighton Aspel.
Vintage Vinnie is trained on the coast near Newport by Rebecca Curtis, who has a 25% strike rate for the horses she sends to Worcester. The gelding’s form last season included a second in the Skybet Chase at Doncaster in January under Barry Geraghty.
With Richard Johnson riding at Perth last week, a win in the opening novice chase gave Aidan Coleman sufficient points to take the lead in the Worcester jockey table by 10 points from Sam Twiston-Davies and Richard Johnson. The lads are fiercely competitive and they will be going all out at the final three meetings of the season to secure the top honours.
Dan Skelton has overtaken Nicky Henderson to take the second spot in the trainer’s table this week behind Philip Hobbs, thanks to a second place for his recent Worcester winning mare, Stephanie Frances in the opening novice chase.
More stories are sure to come from the race meeting at Worcester today, when the first race is due off at 2.10pm and the gates open at 12.10pm.