Sometimes the smallest of acorns can with time, blossom into the most rewarding of oak trees. The story to best illustrate this at the Racecourse began six years ago when I met Heather Elliott, the friend of a race sponsor who approached me with an idea about fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support. Heather works for Boots, whose associated charity is Macmillan Cancer Support.
Together we came up with a plan to create a Macmillan Cancer Support raceday on the national coffee morning day each September. The extraordinary generosity of Boots in contributing stock for the goody bags, the tombola and the raffle is only matched by the extreme kindness of the racegoers who offer their donations. Over the past 4 years, we have raised a total of £20,000 but the recent event surpassed all our hopes as we achieved an amazing £11,300 in one day. A bumper crowd turned out, many of whom now make this an annual occasion and we are so very grateful to everyone who support it.
Out on the track, unusually, the selling hurdle proved one of the most interesting races of the day. Selling races are on the decline and indeed, it is a while since there was any bid at all for the winner in the subsequent auction following any selling race at Worcester.
However, this race was different. The winner, Affaire D’Honneur has been sliding down the ratings since his fourth place in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury behind Agrapart, and also his fourth place in the Imperial Cup at Sandown behind Flying Angel, both in 2016.
In February of this year, the 7-year old moved yards from Harry Whittington to Kevin Frost, and in May he underwent a wind operation.
Affaire D’Honneur was steered to a three-quarter length victory at Worcester by in-form jockey, Brian Hughes. Kevin Frost fought off auction bids on behalf of his owners from both Tony Carroll (via the phone) and Martin Keighley, to buy the horse back in for 5,500 guineas. This in itself made history because following a change in the rules at the end of this month, Affaire D’Honneur is the last horse ever to be sold in guineas at Worcester.
Second place in the race was Take a Break trained by Nigel Hawke, and he was claimed by T. Walford for £5,000.
With just two meetings to go now before the season ends, our attention is drawn to the latest leading jockey and trainer standings. Currently, reigning champion, Richard Johnson leads Harry Skelton by 194 points to 158, whilst Harry’s brother Dan is at the top of the trainer’s table, ahead of Peter Bowen by 158 points to 119. Local trainer, Richard Newland is close behind in third place on 107 points. With 13 races to go, there is still plenty of opportunity to win more points.
By Jenny Cheshire, Executive Director, Worcester Racecourse