Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre celebrated an outstanding fundraising day at Plumpton racecourse this week, when a record number attended its 18th charity lunch and auction in the trackside marquee.
The lunch attracted a best ever attendance of 375 people and the auction during lunch was also a record-breaker, with racing personality Mike Cattermole putting 12 outstanding lots under the hammer to raise more than £21,000.
Whether the whole event is also a record breaker will be known when final figures are in.
Items sold ranged from a Brighton and Hove Albion package including two tickets for a match plus a signed shirt, sold for £800, to a private box during the Qtar Goodwood Festival for up to 16 guests, with entry, parking and racecards, for £3,000.
Other lots sold included £2,100 for a morning on the gallops with trainer Paul Nicholls,with an overnight stay and breakfast for four included. Closer to home, a Night to Remember at the prestigious Goring Hotel, went for £2,000 and a tour of Coolmore Stud for two at £2,300.
Another star prize was a holiday for two in Spain at Cortijo Uribo with five days of riding hacienda horses. (£2,000). And many more impressive lots were sold in this outstanding auction, thanks to generosity of donors.
A silent auction of 36 donated items, ranging from A Morning on the Gallops for four people with Nick Gifford at Downs Stables, Findon, followed by champagne and a tour of the yard, to a double annual membership for Plumpton Racecourse boosted money raised even further.
A presentation was also made by Moorcroft chairman Tim Fox to Alison Blake of Plumpton Racecourse for her expert organisation of this event. The raceday plays a vital part in helping to fund the retraining of ex-racehorses at this outstanding centre, under the expertise of manager Mary Frances.
The raceday itself saw fiercely competitive racing, opening with the traditional pony race, which attracted 15 competitors. It was won by The Gifford Flyer, owned and trained by Mrs M Shepherd, ridden by Daisy Harrop and sponsored by Mr and Mrs Paul Langmead.
The opening two-mile maiden hurdle race on the main card saw an outstanding run from trainer Chris Gordon’s Highway One O One, partnered by Tom Cannon, which justified his price of 7-2. The five-year-old had previously won a National Hunt Flat race and was impressive with a fluent run here.
Feature race of the day was the sixth running of the Josh Gifford Memorial Trophy, marking the achievements of Josh, who died in 2012. As a jockey he rode 68 winners at Plumpton between 1960 and 1970 and went on to train 112 winners at the track.
The race this year, sponsored by Jeremy Kyle, was won by Stoical Patient, an eight-year-old trained by Gary Moore and ridden by son Jamie, owned by Westbourne Racing Club.
Third in the race, despite carrying one stone four pounds more weight than the winner was everybody’s favourite, the remarkable Venetian Lad ridden by Marc Goldstein.
Trained at Funtington by Lydia Richards and owned by the Venetian Lad Partnership, he was beaten by eight lengths and a neck, and was well clear of remaining runners. He never fails to impress with his stoicism and love of racing.
The Retirement Villages Novices Handicap Hurdle over two miles went to Kenyan, trained by Seamus Durak, ridden by Conor O’ Farrell.
Trainer Paul Nicholls took the Gerald Karn-Smith Memorial Chase with 7-2 shot Ridgeway Flyer ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies, while locally trained Theo’s Charm trained by Nick Gifford, at Findon should come on for this outing, where he finished third.
The next Plumpton meeting is on Monday November 6.