It was entirely fitting that the first race meeting of the historic 300th year at Worcester opened to an enthusiastic, bumper crowd with a focus on youth and the local community.
To secure the future of racing, it is imperative to encourage the younger generation to become involved. Third year student, Harry Lonsdale was responsible for organising his second annual Worcester University raceday, enjoyed by 267 students, more than double the number in 2017.Collectively, they raised £808 for the Alzheimer’s Society through ticket sales and an exit collection, part of which was match funded by Barclays Bank in Worcester.
Also experiencing a taste of the races were thirty Year 8 pupils from Winterfold House School at Chaddesley Corbett. The school were hosted by the Racing to School educational programme, a charity delivering free outdoor learning activities for young people at the races.
It was also a day which delighted backers of grey horses, with eleven of the 75 runners officially registered as ‘grey’ in colour, and two of the eight races won by grey horses.
Lady jockey, Bryony Frost, burst on to the scene little more than a year ago, famously riding Black Corton to victory at Worcester last July. Frost started as she means to go on this year by ‘book ending’ the card and riding the winner of the first and last races, before sprinting off to Wincanton for another ride in their final race of the evening.
To date, Frost has ridden 12 times at Worcester, 3 of which were winners. I have often heard it said that some horses respond to the gentler handling of female jockeys and Frost’s first winner is a perfect example.
Northandsouth’s last visit to Worcester was in October 2015 when trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and ridden by recently retired jockey, Ryan Hatch. Now trained by Sam Drinkwater at Strensham, the horse’s recent form figures for male jockeys read 5/5/6/13, but for Frost they are 1/3/1/7.
The 7bets4free.com Brush Hurdle Summer Series got off to a promising start with the 18 declarations for the mare’s maiden being split into 2 divisions.
Division One went to Peggie’s Venture, bred and owned by Sir Christopher and Lady Wates and trained by Alan King.The Presenting mare was beaten a short head by All Currencies at Worcester last October.King is considering targeting her at the £30,000 series final at Worcester in October.
The annual Hunters Chase is one of the features of Celtic Marches Cider race night tomorrow evening. The race, which links to the world of Point to Pointing has a new sponsor this year. Worcester resident and racecourse Annual Member, Mrs Mary Gwillam, a long time supporter of Point to Pointing and owner of Follow the Swallow who recently ran at Worcester, is celebrating a special birthday.
Eighteen horses have been entered for the race, including Chaddesley Corbett winner at April’s Lady Dudley Cup meeting, Arthur’s Secret, trained at Hindlip by Martin Weston.
The gates open tomorrow at 3.40pm, with the first race due off at 5.40pm.