Now we have arrived in September, with the winter National Hunt season just around the corner, racing at Worcester is on a countdown. Just 4 meetings remain between today and the finale on 19 October and the race to be the top 2016 Worcester jockey and trainer has never been closer.
As the table stands this week, Aidan Coleman is just two points ahead of Sam Twiston-Davies, with last year’s champion, Richard Johnson in third place just two points behind. Bearing in mind, 10 points are awarded for a win, the fiercely fought contest is starting to look very exciting.
Philip Hobbs leads Nicky Henderson by ten points on the trainer leader board, with Dan Skelton in third place by one point and last year’s winner, Jonjo O’Neill only a further point behind. Previous years domination by AP McCoy and Jonjo O’Neill are a thing of the past and both competitions look like going right to the wire on the 19 October.
One of the most interesting races on last Tuesday’s card, run under brilliant blue skies, was the 2 mile juvenile hurdle. The race is for 3 year olds and all bar one of the 9 runners were recruits from the flat, with very limited hurdling experience.
Sam Twiston-Davies notched up the first leg of a double on the day aboard the Paul Nicholls trained Cliffs of Dover, who seemed to take to the Worcester brush hurdles and relish the quicker ground.
|Sam Twiston-Davies with Cliffs of Dover|
Another horse switching from the flat to hurdles this summer at the age of 8, is Barwick, trained by George Baker in Manton. Barwick won Epsom’s Great Metropolitan Handicap back in April but rather lost his way after that. Drawing on his flat speed to good effect, he passed three horses on the run in under a skilful drive by Andrew Tinkler, to take the concluding maiden hurdle by a neck.
As the Worcester season draws to a close in October, we are all really looking forward to turning our attention to the re-opening of Hereford Racecourse. Whilst Hereford have hosted both Arab races and point to points over the past 4 years, the first National Hunt fixture to be staged there since the course closed in December 2012 will be on 6 October, a fixture which was transferred from Worcester. Three further fixtures will follow this year on 31 October, on 23 November and 19 December.
The staff from Worcester, as well as from a number of other ARC racecourses are currently working hard to help Hereford prepare for their big relaunch, which promises to be a historic day not to be missed.
Racing at Worcester resumes this afternoon, with the gates opening from 12.10pm and the first race is due off at 2.10pm.