Hereford’s 2019/2020 season got underway on Tuesday 15th October with a bumper crowd of 2,000 for the ever popular Cider & Sausage Raceday.
Whilst fixtures including Leicester’s same-day meeting were abandoned due to poor weather, there were no such issues here with the Going being Good, Good to Firm in places.
Chepstow based trainer Grace Harris saddled the winner of the 2m 5 ½f Visit Sri Lanka Handicap Hurdle with the in-form Searching landing the odds at 11/4F. The 7-year-old gelding, who won by a cool 10 lengths at Exeter on Thursday, cruised to a 5-length success under Ben Jones defying a 7lb penalty. Cougar Kid, who enjoys racing at the track, ran on for a gallant second.
Father and son duo Nigel and Sam Twiston-Davies teamed up for success in The Catherine Kellett In Aid Of IJF Novices’ Hurdle with the giant Don’t Shout. The jockey, who turned 27 on the day, steered the 4/1-shot to a 6-length victory over 13/8F – Red Nika, owned by the race’s sponsor. The winner certainly looks like one to note.
The Welsh Paddies and Anteros jumped the last upsides and battled all the way to the line, in the 3m 1f Sri Lanka The Wonder Of Asia Chase, but it was the latter who was handed the decision in a photo-finish. The result was even referred to the stewards’ room, before places remained unaltered, and Sophie Leech and Adrian Heskin were given the nod, by a short-head.
Richard Johnson was back to winning ways at his favourite track, as he landed The Keltruck Scania Handicap Hurdle, with 15/8F That’s A Given. Another great finish, in the 3m 1½f contest, and just 2 ¼ lengths covered the first three with Pontresina finishing behind the winner and the long-time leader Strong Resemblance back in third. The race celebrated Keltruck’s opening of their first depot in Hereford earlier this year.
Jones and Harris landed a double for owner Carl Johnston in emphatic style in the 2m 5f feature race – The Sri Lanka Paradise Island Mares’ Handicap Chase. Field Exhibition, who was badly hampered last time out at Exeter, had a clear round and beat 11/4F Chequered View by 13 lengths.
Jones, who started the afternoon 3 wins away from riding out his 7lb claim, landed his treble in the Amazing Sri Lanka Mares’ Handicap Hurdle – on 15/8F Runasimi River. After 2m 3½f it was a head that separated Neil Mulholland’s charge – who is now two-in-a-row – and Donald McCain’s Artichoke Heart. The winning jockey will now see his claim reduced to 5lb, and is son of Ffos Las Clerk of the Course Dai Jones.
Milkwood handed Neil Mulholland a double on the day showing an impressive turn of foot, which one might expect from a relative to Group-level winners on the flat - to land the 2m Sri Lanka The Jewel Of Asia National Hunt Maiden hurdle, by 4 ½ lengths, with James best in the saddle.
As well as a competitive seven-race card complimented by plenty of sausages and cider, racegoers were the first to experience some of the excellent improvements the track have made throughout the summer, including the newly refurbished Hummingbird Bar courtesy of Ledbury based Appliance Solutions.
Executive director, Rebecca Davies, is committed to supporting other Herefordshire businesses – even introducing a new business club at the track.
In a video made by BBC Hereford and Worcester Sport, which you can view on Hereford Racecourse’s social media pages, Davies said:
“We try really hard to work with other local Herefordshire businesses. It is something close to my heart – I want to put back into the economy what we can give and where we can, we are trying to place contracts and build links with Herefordshire businesses all the time. This [Appliance Solutions partnership] is a great example actually. Hopefully this will enable us to move the site forward every summer.”
Next up at the track is the Hereford FC Academy Raceday on Monday 4th November. Hereford FC Season Ticket Holders will gain free admission on the day. To read more about the partnership, and what the raceday has on offer visit https://bit.ly/2Mh0wJh
We look forward to welcoming you to Hereford next month!