There has been plenty of action down at Pitchcroft recently, with 2 race meeting in just 4 days.
Despite Family Fun Sunday clashing with the well supported Olly Murs on stage at nearby Worcestershire County Cricket ground and Worcester University’s open day, over 4,000 people enjoyed the afternoon of National Hunt racing, interspersed with pony rides, mini quad bikes, inflatable fun and painted faces.
The local trainers didn’t disappoint. Three of the 7 winners included Murray Mount trained at Abberley by Henry Oliver, Sweeping Rock trained by John Spearing at the Fred Rimell’s former yard in Kinnersley, and the last race went the way of Included trained by David Dennis at Hanley Swan.
The big story of the afternoon came in the £18,000 feature handicap hurdle. A very competitive affair, the strongly fancied Philip Hobbs / Diana Whateley gelding, Wishfull Dreaming went off a clear favourite. However, in the end, the first three horses home mirrored the exact same result of a similar contest earlier in the month on Ladies Day.
Permit trainer, Rosemary Gasson was delighted to see Mr McGuiness get the better of Richard Newland’s Slim Pickens and Alan King’s Miss Crick for the second time at the course in just 3 weeks. Both Mr McGuiness and Slip Pickens hold entries for tomorrow’s Worcester meeting.
Three days later, we welcomed Britain’s Got Talent host, David Walliams to the racecourse for the first time, as guest speaker in the Birmingham City Football Club hospitality marquee.
The local success story continued at this meeting with new recruit to Richard Newland’s Claines yard, Theo storming up the home straight to win the shakespearestone.co.uk Conditional Jockeys Training Series Final Handicap Hurdle under Abberley jockey, Charlie Hammond.
Theo was purchased out of Shane Donohoe’s yard in Ireland recently, with only fair form and a bit of a ‘monkey’ reputation according to Newland’s assistant, Rod Trow. However, the 7-year old was on best behaviour, winning comfortably and seemingly relishing the change of scene, as further borne out by his Uttoxeter win on Sunday.
Roger Hart is very well known at Worcester and on the wider racing circuit as a tipster, Corporate raceday host and an organiser of ownership syndicates. He is less well known as an owner. However, when Fort Worth trained by Jonjo O’Neill won on the bridle last week under a cool Aidan Coleman ride, a very excited Hart whooped his way across the parade ring to greet his winner.
Fort Worth was bought by O’Neill from Coolmore originally, and has run for O’Neil under different ownership until recently when Hart and 3 friends purchased the Presenting gelding, who jumped and stayed on impressively.
Hart tells the story that the ownership under which Fort Worth now runs, Sleeping Panther Racing, took its name from the many sleeping panther statues that can be seen on the streets of ‘Panther City’ as Fort Worth in Texas is nicknamed.
With Nicky Henderson on flying form last week, posting a treble and a third from his 4 runners, we look forward to the stories from tomorrow’s meeting, due off at 2.20pm.