Life continues to buzz at Pitchcroft, with four meetings in the past four weeks, attracting 7,695 racegoers to Worcester City Centre.
We have also been fortunate to witness some decent quality horses pounding the Severnside turf and one in particular, could have an interesting future.
We only have one hurdle race a year aimed at the 3-year-old juveniles, most of which are recruits from the flat.
It would be a very rare occasion that flat trainer Richard Fahey sent a hurdler to Worcester but Chief Justice, owned by Cheveley Park Stud took his chance in the 7bets4free.com juvenile hurdle on August 29th and was rewarded with a win. The horse had a chequered history on the flat, refusing to race and unseating the jockey at the start at York last August as a two-year-old, and similarly refusing to start at Beverley too. However, a more promising run was his first over hurdles at Aintree in June this year, when he finished runner-up to Alan King’s Cracker Factory, currently the best-rated juvenile, owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.
Chief Justice beat local horse Nordican Bleue at Worcester, trained at Claines by Richard Newland, a dual winning mare on the flat in France.
Interestingly, following the Worcester win, Chief Justice was transferred to Gordon Elliott’s yard in Ireland on the 4th September. It might be worth following his progress.
Another recent Pitchcroft winner to note was Neil Mulholland’s Shantou Village. In January 2016 he was beaten by Yanworth at Cheltenham when ridden by Ruby Walsh, and in the March of that year he ran at the Festival in the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle won by Unowhatimeanharry. His results have been a little indifferent this year, with 6 runs including a third place in the Summer Plate at Market Rasen in July. The win at Worcester came in the Chris Pennell’s Sparkling Testimonial Year Handicap Chase, a race sponsored by Anja Potze Jewellery.
The ride of the month must belong to champion jockey, Richard Johnson aboard Tom Lacey’s grey mare, Vivant on the same card. Formerly trained by Harry Fry, Vivant won first time out for Lacey at Worcester in June. In her latest Pitchcroft race, to quote her trainer ‘she wasn’t going a yard’ and was plum last turning into the home straight, with Johnson pushing and shoving for all he was worth.
Unraced previously beyond 2 miles and 5 furlongs, the five-year-old needed every bit of the 2 miles 7 furlongs to pick off the field and beat David Pipe’s Time for Ben, the favourite to win the race, by half a length.
The Family Fun day on 2nd September produced 2 local winners. Heurtevent, trained by Tony Carroll at Cropthorne made it 3 course wins with victory in the opening handicap chase, and in the concluding race, Settimo Milanese gave Richard Newland and jockey Charlie Hammond, another Worcester win. Settimo Milanese holds a further entry for racing tomorrow at Pitchcroft, when the gates for the Charles Stanley raceday open at 12.20pm.