An action-packed day rewarded the big crowd which supported the opening meeting of Plumpton Racecourse’s new 2014/15 jump season yesterday, Sunday. There was highly competitive racing, with jockeys Richard Johnson and Tom Scudamore both riding doubles was on the seven race card.
Also there was plenty of pre-racing family fun, ranging from a display by riders from the Sussex Tent Peggers to a demonstration by retrained racehorses by Moorcroft Racehorse Retraining Centre at Slinfold, West Sussex. And racegoers approaching the course from the station were greeted by a brand-new entrance at the bottom end of the course.
Tom Scudamore started out in style, riding trainer David Bridgwater’s Russian Bolero to win the opening juvenile hurdle by a comfortable seven lengths beating 50-1 shot Witch from Rome trained by Neil King, by an easy seven lengths.
50-1 shot Witch From Rome and Trevor Whelan had to settle for second place in the opening race Photo: Jeannie Knight
He followed up with a hard-fought victory for trainer David Pipe in the novice handicap chase over two mile five furlongs, getting home by only a neck on board Famousandfearless, where the lightly-raced six-year-old scraped home from Jewellry, trained by Victor Dartnell.
Gavin Sheehan, who always did well round Plumpton as an apprentice, showed that he is equally effective without the advantage of a weight allowance, when winning the second race, a novice hurdle over two-mile two furlongs, for trainer Charlie Mann. The jockey is currently on the 26 winner mark, with an impressive 28 per cent strike race.
Winners Gavin Sheehan and Sureness
Photo: Jeannie Knight
He was on board 12-1 shot Sureness, a four-year-old taking on older horses in the race, and gave the chestnut filly a perfect ride. He said afterwards: ” I knew she had a turn of foot and is a nice horse to look forward to. Now I have lost my claim, it is not as easy, and I ride at as many places as I can. I rode 50 winners last year and aim to ride even more this season.”
Aidan Coleman and trainer Charlie Lonsdon teamed up to take the Memorial Handicap Steeplechase with Green Bank, winning in easy style from the remainder of the field, where the Diana Grissell-trained Orfeo Conti, was the only one to stay on to give Green Bank any form of competition, finishing a seven lengths second.
Bristol-trainer Ian Williams is a rare visitor to Plumpton, but made his journey worthwhile, following up on a win by Cool Sky ridden to victory in the two-mile handicap hurdle by Richard Johnson, to go on and gain a back-to back double for both trainer and jockey.
Richard Johnson with Teak, completing double for trainer Ian Williams. Photo: Jeannie Knight
In the following race, Richard Johnson brought home Teak to win the handicap hurdle over three mile one furlong.. Teak is a great dual-performer, having won three times on the Flat, as well as a hurdle and a chase race since June this year.
The final race of the day went to local trainer, Lewes-based Sheena West, who sent out Unidexter ( fourth at Newton Abbott only two days previously) to win the handicap hurdle with Marc Goldstein in the saddle.
Lewes-based jockey Marc Goldstein
Plumpton’s next raceday is one not to be missed: The Moorcroft Raceday takes place on Monday October 20, with the first race at 2.30pm This is a vital fundraiser for Moorcroft, an exceptional West Sussex centre, which retrains former racehorses at Slinfold, near Horsham, to go on to active lives outside racing. For full details about this fixture see:
Don’t miss the annual Moorcroft Raceday at Plumpton
and for an insight into the retraining work see: https://jeanniesequestrianworld.co.uk/2014/08/20/moorcroft-2/