A little piece of racing history was made at Pitchcroft last week when the teenage son of former top Irish jockey, Charlie Swan rode his first winner since taking out his amateur jockey’s licence. Young Harry Swan will do well to emulate his famous father’s footsteps. Swan senior, who won the Irish Champion Jockey title on nine occasions and will always be remembered for his three Cheltenham Champion Hurdle victories aboard Istabraq, had only ever been to Worcester twice before and both visits were winning ones on Don’t Tell The Wife and Vivo.
The Swans’ trip to Worcester last week was a real family affair because the mare that Harry won on, Stacey Sue was trained by his grandfather, Timmy Hyde who was having his first ever runner at the course.
The five-year-old daughter of Robin De Champs made all in the Vine Tap Intermediate Open National Hunt Flat Race to beat the Jonjo O’Neill trained Golden Promise by 2 lengths. Having been successful in a mare’s maiden point to point in Ireland in April, Stacey Sue also won a bumper at Cork in August and came second under a penalty at Down Royal.
Two days after her Worcester success, the mare went through the ring at the Goffs UK September Horses in Training sale and was bought by JD Moore and Alex Hales for £52,000. It will be interesting to follow her progress through the coming winter season.
A trainer closer to home is flying at the moment. Rarely does a meeting go by at Worcester lately when Richard Newland hasn’t trained at least one of the winners.
Last week, it was the turn of Theo who previously won over fences at the course in August. The feature race last week was a £20,000 Class 2 novice chase which Newland also won in 2017, with Vosne Romanee.
Theo has had 8 starts for the Newland yard when the going has had ‘good’ in the description, and he has won 7 times.
Sam Twiston-Davies has a 27% strike rate when riding for Newland around Pitchcroft and he almost made it a double last week, when Leoncavello was just beaten one and a quarter lengths in the beginner’s chase by Cultivator, a promising horse of Nicky Henderson’s.
The Worcester Annual Members enjoyed a visit to the Cotswold yard of former Worcester Leading Trainer, Shaun Lycett on Saturday. The Members were able to watch the horses on the gallops and learn about their routines and their racing plans. These behind the scenes yard visits are always very enjoyable and popular, with the next one planned for November to Alastair Ralph’s stables.
Tomorrow’s meeting is the annual Macmillan raceday when we team up with the staff from the Boots stores in Birmingham to join the national fundraising efforts on this day for such a worthy charity. We have raised £20,000 over the past 4 years and with 2,000 goody bags to give away for donations, as well as Ladies’ pampering and other activities, it promises to be another successful event. The first race is due off at 2.15pm.
By Jenny Cheshire, Executive Director of Worcester Racecourse.