Plumpton Racecourse had the largest turnout at a February meeting since 2003, with 1,900 attending yesterday’s meeting. They were rewarded with some competitive racing at this popular jumps track.
Brandon Castle impressed when scoring his third victory on the trot over hurdles at the meeting.
Trained by Neil King and ridden by Bryony Frost, the 5-6 favourite won the RABI/Joan Collinson Memorial Handicap Hurdle over two miles.
The victory came at the expense of Arthington, trained by Seamus Mullins and ridden by 3lb claimer Kevin Jones, nine lengths further back in runner-up spot. Royal Hall, trained by Gary Moore and ridden by Jamie Moore filled third place.
There was compensation for Seamus Mullins later in the card when he sent out 5-2 favourite Plantagenet ridden by Mr Matthew Fielding to win the Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase over three miles one furlong and a half furlongs by five lengths. The seven-year-old was scoring his second victory over fences and there should be more to come.
Plantagenet beat French bred Tzar De L’Elfe, a nine -year-old gelding trained at Sullington by Richard Rowe and owned by Lord Clinton and Captain Adrian Pratt, ridden by Miss Gina Andrews. Tzar De L’Elfe seems suited to fences and has been runner-up twice, but is capable of a decent win.
The opening race of the meeting, a Mares’ Handicap Hurdle over two miles four furlongs, attracted 14 runners- but none of them could compete with course specialist Ding Ding, an eight-year-old chestnut mare trained at Lewes by Sheena West.
Ding Ding seems to love Plumpton and won comfortably by six lengths under a good ride from Marc Goldstein.
Dorset-based trainer Keiran Burke sent out the 5-1 winner of the Peter Earl Memorial Novices’ Chase, run over 2m3½ furlongs. His runner, Mine’s A Pint, ridden by Tom Bellamy, won by four lengths from 1-8 favourite Grassten, trained by Gary Moore and ridden by Josh Moore.
Nicky Henderson and jockey Nico De Boinville teamed up to win the Maiden Hurdle with four-year-old gelding Pentland Hills, which beat 8-13 favourite The Flying Sofa ( trained by Gary Moore ) in impressive style by 14 lengths.
Trainer Chris Gordon and jockey Tom Cannon rarely go away from a race meeting empty-handed. This meeting was no exception for they took the three miles one furlong handicap hurdle in fine style with 5-1 shot Jimmy, relegating another Gary Moore runner, 9-4 favourite Ruby Yeats, into second place.
There should be more to come from the winner, which came to the race fresh from a decent break and should continue to progress.
The next Plumpton meeting is on Monday March 11.