The long hours and hard work that is currently going into maintaining the good, safe racing surface at Pitchcroft for the weekly meetings continues to be recognised by the trainers and owners, backed up by the bumper declarations for racing last Thursday.
For only the second time this season, a full complement of 89 horses were declared to run with decent field sizes, something currently scarce at most racecourses thanks to the heatwave.
Not only are we attracting local horses but trainers from further afield and as far as Ireland are sending their horses to Worcester.
One such horse caught my eye over the past 2 weeks. Ruaraidh Hugh (which I am reliably informed means Rory Hugh in Gaelic) is a 9-year old with 27 runs to his name. Trained in Middleham, North Yorkshire by Julia Brooke since January 2018, Ruaraidh Hugh was sent to contest the 2-mile 4 furlong Selling handicap hurdle at the course at Irish night on the 17th July, with recent form figures of 056/00-5 and seemingly little chance of winning. Defying the odds, the horse bolted up in the 15- runner race to win prize money of £2,377 for his connections.
As is customary in these selling races, the horse was then auctioned in the winner’s enclosure. Unsurprisingly, there was no bid for him with most people assuming the win was a bit of a fluke, and the horse went back home to Yorkshire.
His trainer knew better and Brooke sent Ruaraidh Hugh back to Worcester last Thursday, 9 days later, to contest another 2-mile 4-furlong handicap hurdle and another 15-runner race. This time, he carried top weight of 12 stone with his conditional jockey taking a 7lb allowance off.
Described as a ‘real gent’ and showing no ill-effects from his 4-hour / 344-mile journey in searing heat and a small trailer that morning, he cruised home, idling a bit on the run-in, but winning another £2,377 for his connections by 6 lengths. His success could possibly be put down to his seeming preference for running in the months of June and July when his form figures read: 5111671111.
Brooke, who has sent out 4 winners from her last 4 runners, now has a 100% strike rate at Pitchcroft, with 2 wins from 2 runs by Ruaraidh Hugh.
Trainer Peter Bowen and jockey son, Sean’s good form continues at the course with another winner last week. Cruising Bye first ran at Worcester back in July 2013 when he came second of 12 runners, then ridden by Peter Carberry.
Tomorrow is the annual chance to paint the racecourse purple. A favourite meeting of mine, the Pershore Plum Festival race night always has a fun atmosphere as we celebrate the historic races run at Pershore racecourse before its closure during World War Two, and we look forward to the Plum Festival in Pershore at the end of August.
The gates open at 3.35pm - be sure to remember to sport the colour purple!