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.