The first race sponsor’s headline in the racecard for the recent Worcester fixture read ‘Girl Power’, which pretty much summed up the day.
The Thoroughbred Breeder’s Association jointly sponsored the opening mare’s novice chase with the European Breeder’s Fund for the second successive year, and they were rewarded with a close finish between two very promising mares.
The winner, Majestic Moll, trained by Emma Lavelle is now 2 wins from 2 runs at Worcester, following her handicap hurdle success in August. The 6-year old daughter of Kings Theatre benefitted from a summer breathing operation to win under Adam Wedge on both occasions.
Of the 56 horses that ran at Worcester on that card, 10 were trained by 7 different female trainers, who won 3 of the 7 races between them.
The Amy Murphy trained Mercian King was returning to the track to defend his title in the same feature chase that he won last year. His victory was all the sweeter for his delighted trainer as the former Charlie Longsdon inmate was her first ever winner as a trainer, at Fakenham in 2016. Murphy boasts a 43% strike rate at Worcester.
The third successful female trainer was Alexandra Dunn. Originally from Himbleton, Dunn has been busy on the flat over the summer and indeed, has not had a winner over jumps since May. Kublai, also ridden by Adam Wedge, has been on a losing run since 2015, but has shown better form recently with a second place at Market Rasen.
Phillip Hobbs and Tom O’Brien teamed up for a treble on the same card, as the National Hunt winter season steps up a gear. Hobbs’ stable jockey and likely Worcester 2018 Champion jockey, Richard Johnson missed out on the wins as he was riding at Bangor on the same afternoon.
Tomorrow sees the final meeting of the 2018 season at Worcester, and it is a meeting I always look forward to.
The richest ever card to be run at Worcester opens with three decent chases including the Class 3 Fred & Mercy Rimell Memorial handicap chase for horses rated 0 – 130, and the Class 3 Richard Davis Memorial Novices handicap chase for horses rated 0 – 135.
The bumper, won in 2017 by the Ben Pauling trained Skidoosh, has in the past showcased the talents of horses such as Cheltenham Festival Bumper and Betfair Hurdle winner Ballyandy.
Also on the card is the £30,000 7bets4free.com Fixed Brush Hurdle Series final. This series, now in its second year, has featured novice, maiden and juvenile hurdle races at Worcester and Southwell since May. Horses finishing in the first 6 places have automatically qualified for the final, which attracted 20 horses across all the top National Hunt yards at the 6-day entry stage.
Following a momentous season to mark the historic 300th year, which has included another record-breaking Ladies Day, plus the Anniversary day with the visit of HRH The Princess Royal and the revival of the Worcester Grand Annual in July, as well as the challenges of the relentless summer heat and the World Cup football matches, the curtain closer tomorrow is a day not to be missed. The gates open at 11.50am.
By Jenny Cheshire, Executive Director, Worcester Racecourse.