Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Looking ahead to the Season Finale

Where did the summer go! Five months, seven days and 18 fixtures since the start of the 2016 Worcester racing season, we are now approaching the finale tomorrow afternoon.

The last meeting produced a fantastic result for our charity, Macmillan. Racegoers dug deep and very generously supported the various fund raising activities organised by the ladies from Boots, resulting in an amazing record total of just over £5,000 raised on this annual day.

Earlier in the year, when the exciting news broke that Hereford Racecourse was to be re-opened, Worcester’s 6th October fixture was transferred to create the first race meeting to be held at Hereford since 2012.

The Worcester staff fully embraced the idea of helping to re-open Hereford and when the day dawned, with not a cloud in the sky, we were all extremely proud to be part of such a historic occasion.

The feeling of goodwill, everywhere you turned, was something I will remember, and going forward we will continue to work very closely with the team at Hereford and help them build on that special day.

As the season at Worcester draws to a close, we reflect on the many success stories.  The weather, which is so important to all racecourses from the aspect of producing decent ground for the horses, as well as encouraging racegoers to attend the meetings, has been kind this year. The owners and trainers have been wonderfully supportive as is borne out by the fact that we have had 49 more horses running at the course this year than over the equivalent fixtures in 2015.

The 165 entries for tomorrow’s meeting include horses from all the top yards, and the runners will be competing for £63,000 in prize money.

The races tomorrow include the annual Fred Rimell Memorial Handicap Chase. Rimell trained locally at Kinnersley and was crowned champion National Hunt trainer on five occasions spanning 25 years from 1951 to 1976. Among his many achievements were the winners of four Grand Nationals, two Cheltenham Gold Cups, two Champion Hurdles, a Champion Chase and three Triumph Hurdles.

Tomorrow will also see the conclusion of the 2016 Worcester leading Owner, Trainer and Jockey contests. With Jonjo O’Neill leading Neil Mulholland by just 7 points in the trainer’s title and Aidan Coleman currently lying ahead of Richard Johnson by a mere 6 points in the jockey’s table, it is all to play for on the last day.

Aidan Coleman with Mont Royale and winning connections

More certain is that JP McManus, who has run many horses at Worcester over the years, will be confirmed as our most successful owner this year.

The final fixture of the season has often produced horses who have gone on to achieve bigger things, and there is no better example of this than Ballyandy, who in 2015 had his racecourse debut in the ‘Newcomers’ bumper at this meeting, and went on to win the Grade 1 Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival in March this year. 

The gates open tomorrow at 12.20pm.