For the first time, we were delighted to welcome trainer Tom Gretton as a race sponsor to Worcester last week.
The Inkberrow trainer has been running his horses at the course over the summer and kindly agreed to sponsor the 2 mile handicap chase in aid of the Surrey based, Racehorse Sanctuary. The race turned into a well-supported, local affair with 6 of the 11 horses trained within an hour’s radius of Worcester.
The winner, Bandol is an 8-year old gelding, owned and trained at Abberley by former jump jockey, Henry Oliver. The winning pointer had his first two runs under rules in bumpers at Worcester in 2012 and 2013 when trained by Laura Young.
The second placed horse, Deise Vu is trained by Roy Brotherton at Pershore and has finished consistently in third place on his 4 previous outings, including at Pitchcroft in July.
A new lady trainer was granted her full licence 2 weeks ago. Former Manager of Hereford Racecourse and Bath Clerk of the Course, Katie Stephens’ first runner as a fully-fledged trainer was at Worcester with Zero Visibility who finished in third place in the opening handicap chase.
Another local story to emerge in the week was the excellent run by Gas Line Boy in the Kerry National at Listowel. Alvechurch based Ian Williams sent his 8-year old over to Ireland as the only British raider in the race. The horse made most of the running in testing ground under Tom Scudamore and finished a creditable third, despite making a few jumping errors.
Having fallen in the Crabbies Grand National in 2015 when trained by Philip Hobbs, Gas Line Boy then had a spell with Jim Best before moving to Williams’ yard in the spring of this year where he appears to be flourishing.
Richard Johnson and Tim Vaughan teamed up for a quick fire double in the opening two handicap chases at Pitchcroft last week, which was enough to move Johnson up to second place behind Aidan Coleman in the Worcester jockey table, with Sam Twiston-Davies 6 points behind.
The trainer table has never been more competitive. Just 9 points (less than one win) separate the first 6 names – Philip Hobbs, Jonjo O’Neill, Dan Skelton, Nicky Henderson, Neil Mulholland and David Pipe. As there are only two meetings left this season, it is impossible to predict how these two contests will finish.
Owner, JP McManus is 24 points clear of his nearest rival in the owner’s championship. Favourites Racing is the syndicate attached to the yard of Hanley Swan trainer, David Dennis. Both owners have been fantastic supporters of the course with their runners throughout the summer, as well as in previous years.
The gates open for the popular annual raceday in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support at 12.20pm tomorrow.