Huge crowd enjoys racecourse ladies’ night finale
Leah Allen from Exmouth was judged the best dressed lady at Exeter Racecourse’s glamourous Ladies’ Night by a team of three judges from Bovey Castle who had sponsored the prizes.
Kelli Jenkins, Bovey Castle’s marketing manager, communications executive Natalie Clark-Medina and Joanna Foulkes roved the racecourse looking for the best dressed ladies to contest the final and a chance to win the top prize of a in a superior castle room for two people, with chilled champagne on arrival, three-course dinner in the Edwardian Grill and breakfast.
Nine made it through to the final judging which took place in the winners’ enclosure in front of a packed audience after the fifth race and Leah Allen was announced the winner.
“She looks sophisticated and stylish and her outfit is lovely,” commented Kelli.
Second place went to Jill Davey from Bishopsteignton with Marie Webber from Okehampton third. The best hat went to Rachel Gardner who lives in the Teign Valley with Julian Rodriguez from London winning the best dressed male competition.
The racecourse attracted its biggest ever turnout for its annual evening of glamour and entertainment with local ten-piece band Joey The Lips proving hugely popular after the final race.
The evening also featured the Exeter Racecourse Intermediate Final with the Roy Smith-trained King of Alcatraz winning by six lengths with Vicky Wade riding.
Exeter’s general manager Tim Darby said: “It was a fantastic night, the atmosphere was terrific and it was a fitting conclusion to our season at Exeter. We enjoyed a fantastic season with some truly memorable moments including Cue Card winning the Sportingbet Haldon Gold Cup and following up at the Cheltenham Festival.”
Exeter’s new season begins on Thursday, October 10.
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Rugby comes to the races at Exeter’s April evening meeting
Rugby comes to the races at Exeter Racecourse next Tuesday (April 30) with its first evening meeting of the season staged in conjunction with the Exeter Chiefs.
The Chiefs’ long serving hooker, Neil Clark, has made over 150 appearances for the club and he’s been honoured with a testimonial year.
As part of the year-long activities being held in his honour, he’ll be at the racecourse along with his team mates including captain Tom Hayes, New Zealand Maori Hoani Tui, full back Luke Arscott and Wales international Craig Mitchell.
Racing kicks off at 5.35pm with the Neil Clark Testimonial Handicap Hurdle and the player said: “It’s amazing to have a race named after me and fantastic that we are part of the evening. I cannot thank Exeter enough.
“There will be quite a lot of us coming along, but we still have a match to go, five days later, so we’ll be having a few, but not too many.”
That match could be the decider of whether the club again qualifies for prestigious Heineken Cup rugby, a feat they achieved for the first time last season.
Clark admits that since teaming up with the racecourse he’s become a huge racing fan and says it would be great to emulate fellow rugby union players Mike Tindall, James Simpson-Daniel and Nicky Robinson and have a horse like Moonbeg Dude, winner of this year’s Welsh National. “That would be great, but it’s just a dream,” he said.
And although this is his testimonial year, Clark reckons he has about another five seasons left in him, depending how his body holds up.
Six races make up the card and throughout the evening players will be on course for autographs. “It’s all part of the evening and we’re all really looking forward to mingling with everyone and enjoy our night at the race,” he said.
With a selection of Otter Ales available throughout the night, anyone who likes racing, rugby and beer is in for a treat.
A free bus is available from Exeter St David’s at 4pm and Exeter Bus and Coach Station at 4.15pm, returning half an hour after the last race. Children aged 17 and under race free.
To book tickets in advance call 0844 793005 or visit www.exeter-racecourse.co.uk
Melodic Rendezvous and Puffin Billy on course for Exeter on Sunday
Exeter Racecourse’s Bathwick Tyres-sponsored raceday this Sunday is worth nearly £75,000 and with some high quality entries is set to be a prime opportunity to watch potential Cheltenham Festival contenders in action.
The Bathwick Tyres Plymouth Novices’ Hurdle, a class one race over two miles and a furlong and worth £20,000, heads the card. The race is typically regarded as a trial for both the Supreme Novices and Ballymore Properties’ Hurdle Races and previous winners include subsequent Arkle and World Hurdle winner My Way De Solzen and Spirit Son who was regarded as a top class prospect until injury curtailed his racing career.
Entries include Jeremy Scott’s grade one winner Melodic Rendezvous. The seven-year-old started this season’s campaign at Exeter in October where he was beaten a length and a half by Mr Mole who is also entered in the race.
Following that performance, he scored in the British Stallion Studs/Pyments Quantity Surveyors EBF National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and then scored a resounding success at Sandown in the 32 Red Hurdle Novices’ Hurdle beating Pendra by four and a half lengths, a horse he could reoppose again on Sunday.
The Oliver Sherwood-trained Puffin Billy is another entry. He’s unbeaten in all four starts under Rules and was last seen winning the Grade 2 Mitie Kennel Gate Novices’ Hurdle at Ascot. The Alan King-trained Seventh Sign could also line up. He won a juvenile hurdle at Newbury in January and has an entry in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.
Kim Bailey has openly said Harry Topper is one of the best he has ever trained, and the six-year-old is entered in the Bathwick Tyres Taunton Graduation Chase, over three miles, which has a £20,000 prize fund.
The gelding began his chasing career with a win at Exeter in November, beating Rocky Creek by one and a quarter lengths. Rocky Creek has since gone on and won two novice chases while Harry Topper was the impressive winner of the Grade 2 GPG Novices’ chase at Newbury.
The Bathwick Tyres National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle kicks off the card and a potentially cracking race is in prospect. Horses with Cheltenham entries in the line up include the Paul Nicholls-trained Just A Par, who was impressive in a maiden hurdle at Punchestown in November and the David Pipe-trained Broadway Buffalo who makes his hurdles debut after two bumper wins.
Our Father, another trained by Pipe, is in the RSA Chase at the Festival and could line up in the Bathwick Tyres Bridgwater Novices’ Chase run over two miles three furlongs. JP McManus’s Colour Squadron is also entered and he could run in the Jewson at the Festival.
Other races on the card include a National Hunt novices’ hurdle over two miles one furlong handicap chase worth £15,000 and a bumper.
The first of six races comes under starters’ orders at 2pm. A free bus service leaves Exeter St David’s at 12.20pm and Exeter Bus and Coach Station at 12.35pm and returns half an hour after the last race. Children aged 17 and under race free. Two tickets for £10 are available and must be pre-booked in advance by midnight on Saturday, February 9 by calling the hotline on 08445 793005 or book on-line at www.exeter-racecourse.co.uk. All pre-booked tickets will be entered into a draw to win a night at Bovey Castle. Terms and conditions apply.
Cheltenham Festival Preview Evening
Join the stars from the racing world at Exeter Racecourse’s Cheltenham Festival Preview Evening on Thursday, February 21.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls, Phillip Hobbs, David Pipe and the Racing Post’s Andrew King will be on the panel to answer all your questions about their runners at the Festival of jump racing and to give their opinions their rivals runners.
Channel 4 Racing’s Tanya Stevenson will host the evening and Paddy Power will advice on market movers, bankers and blow outs.
Join us from 6pm, with the panel starting at 7pm, on February 21 for an evening of informed entertainment. Tickets cost £20 each and include a hot supper. To book call on 01392 832599.
Racecourse’s unwanted sandwiches feed Exeter’s homeless
Exeter Racecourse was left cursing the weather after its 20th December meeting was abandoned today following the latest deluge of rain, but the homeless of Exeter were smiling when they become the beneficiaries of dozens of unwanted sandwiches.
Rather than discard the pre-prepared food, catering staff at the racecourse called St Petroc’s in Exeter who collected dozens of sandwiches and distributed them among Exeter’s vulnerable citizens.
General manager Tim Darby said: “It was a huge disappointment that we were unable to stage our Christmas fixture, but at least we were able to help St Petroc’s and the hostels, and Christmas is a lovely time to be able to help people.”
“Losing a meeting is always a big headache, but we are all now very much looking forward to our New Year’s fixture which has become something of a Devon tradition.”
Linda Sillifant, kitchen manager at St Petroc’s said: “We were absolutely delighted and it shows the spirit of Christmas still exists. It was very kind of the racecourse to think of us. All the homeless here had sandwiches today, we gave some to another hostel, Gabriel House, and the rest are going to the Soup Kitchen at St David’s Church this evening.”
It’s been a tough time for homeless, and last night St Petroc’s was given special permission to remain open all night due to the gales and rain. “We’ll also be open on Christmas Day and Boxing Day when all the homeless will be given a free meal,” added Mrs Sillifant.
THE PETERBOROUGH CHASE COMES TO EXETER!
Whilst we very much feel for our colleagues at Huntingdon Racecourse for the loss of their fixture on 13th December, we are delighted to announce that the Levy Board Peterborough Chase is now rescheduled to be run at Exeter on Thursday 20th December. We are delighted that this grade two contest will not be lost and we are all looking forward too it. Our GM, Tim Darby commented:
'I’m delighted the Levy Board Peterborough Chase will be run at Exeter next Thursday. It will make a great addition to a strong card for the final meeting of the year here. I’m disappointed for Huntingdon that the weather forced the fixture to move, but as part of Jockey Club Racecourses we are delighted the race will go ahead thanks to the hard work of everyone involved.”
There is still some limited availability in the restaurant and discounts on tickets and for group bookings are still available, so come and join us for what will be a brilliant raceday! (Gates Open 10.30am - First Race 12.20pm)
Racecourse and Armed Forces combine to put on a day for heroes at Exeter
There will be a mix of top class racing to enjoy, Supacat all terrain vehicles to investigate, and the camaraderie of a day at the races to savour at Exeter Racecourse on Sunday, November 25 which been dedicated to the South West Salute, a charity which aims to raise over £2million for the six military charities
The day offers spectacular value for money for families with children aged 17 and under racing free, and all serving military personnel as well as one guest eligible for half price entry. For every full priced ticket sold, £1 will be donated to SWS too. The Rifles Support team from Exeter will also be in attendance.
Six military charities - Help For Heroes, Royal British Legion, Royal Air Force Association, Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity and SSAFA Forces Help - are to benefit from 60pc of the funds raised by South West Salute with the remaining 40pc donated to South West-based general charities.
Exeter’s general manager Tim Darby said: “It’s the second successive year we have dedicated this Sunday meeting to a military charity. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to enjoy a winter’s day of sporting action. This season, we’ve already had some incredible racing, and we very much hope the excitement of this together with the presence of all-terrain vehicles and armed service personnel will help make it a day to remember.”
Six races are on the card which begins with a handicap hurdle at 1.05pm which has been named after South West Salute Spartans. A limited novices’ handicap chase over three miles, named after Help For Heroes, is sure to attract some decent horses, while the SSAFA Commemorative Handicap Chase will be popular.
The Poppies Pursuit Handicap Chase is next, followed by the Huge Novices’ hurdle with the Royal Navy & Marines Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle concluding the card at 3.35pm.
David Gammell, South West Salute’s chief executive officer, said: “We are delighted that Exeter Racecourse are holding South West Salute Race Day as the start of the awareness campaign for South West Salute in 2014.
“South West Salute is to be a three-day event to celebrate the Best of the South West and a chance to celebrate our military. Appealing to all ages and all generations, the three days will be filled with activities and experiences to excite, enthrall and involve. We are very much looking forward to our Race day and are excited to be able to offer all military personnel half-priced tickets.”
Tickets start from £13 if booked in advance and can be booked online at Exeter-raceourse.co.uk or by calling 08445 793005. A free raceday bus service is available leaving Exeter St David’s railway station 11.25am and Exeter Bus & Coach Station 11.40am and returning 30 minutes after the last race.
Exeter stages its richest raceday on November 6 featuring the sportingbet Haldon Gold Cup
Exeter Racecourse stages its richest raceday next Tuesday (November 6) with the prestigious sportingbet Haldon Gold Cup taking centre stage.
The grade two race is one of the highlights of the early jump racing season and this year is part of the ‘Road to Cheltenham’ series sponsored by leading bookmaker sportingbet.com
The race is steeped in tradition and quality and former winners include Best Mate, Medermit, Planet of Sound and Azertyuiop. Former runners include Kauto Star and Desert Orchid.
The race is the early target for two of trainer Philips Hobbs’ stable stars, Menorah and Captain Chris. Their owner Diana Whateley has already tasted success at Exeter this season with Garde La Victoire carrying her famous blue colours to victory in the bumper at its second October meeting.
Hobbs said: “We are looking at the sportingbet Haldon Gold Cup for Menorah and he is very likely to start his season off there. He is in good form and seems fine at the moment. It’s a case of seeing how he gets on at Exeter before deciding what route he will go down this season. Captain Chris ran in the sportingbet Haldon Gold Cup last year and he is likely to run as well. He ran a good race in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham and it was pleasing to see him return to a bit of form.”
Tim Darby, General Manager of Exeter added: “We are thrilled to welcome sportingbet.com as sponsor of our most prestigious race, as the company extends its support of the two mile steeplechases on the ‘Road to Cheltenham’. The Sportingbet Haldon Gold Cup is always one of the most eagerly awaited races of the autumn and I’m sure this year’s renewal will be as competitive as ever.”
Two novice hurdle races are also on the card with top prospects likely to feature in the line up. A National Hunt novices’ hurdle over two miles three furlongs gets the card underway at 1.50pm and then a two miles one furlong novices hurdle takes place half an hour later
Tickets start from £13 if booked in advance and can be booked online at Exeter-raceourse.co.uk or by calling 08445 793005. A free raceday bus service is available leaving Exeter St David’s railway station at 12.10pm and Exeter Bus & Coach Station at 12.25pm, returning 30 minutes after the last race.
Top class potential in Exeter’s two beginners’ chases
A high quality card is in prospect at Exeter next Tuesday (Oct 23) with some exciting horses starting out on their chasing career set to line up in the two beginners’ chases.
Entries in the Betfred Best Mate Beginners Chase include the Tom George-trained Module, winner of a class two handicap hurdle at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day in January.
Three and three quarters of a lengths behind was Art Professor and a length and a quarter behind him was the Paul Nicholls-trained Hinterland who won a decent handicap hurdle at Chepstow on Saturday.
Philip Hobbs has entered Bold Henry who fell at the last when 12 lengths ahead of the 16- runner field in a novice hurdle at Kempton in April. He made amends at Exeter three weeks alter when easily winning a maiden hurdle.
The Jonjo O’Neill-trained Johns Spirit looked very impressive at Market Rasen in April when he landed the odds in a 16 runner novices hurdle having made all the running to win by ten lengths.
Nicholls may run Rebel Rebellion who has his first run for a year having finished sixth in Chepstow’s Silver Trophy. Before that he impressed in two starts including a two novice hurdle at Sandown where the highly regard Our Mick was back in third.
The Richard Lee-trained Knock A Hand is an exciting prospect and could be tried over fences for the first time in the Betfred ‘The Bonus King’ Beginners’ Chase run over three miles (4.40pm).
The seven-year-old has had six starts under Rules, winning four of them including a Grade 2 novices’ hurdle at Sandown in February. He pulled up in the Grade one Grand Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree after appearing to go lame, but was later reported to be sound.
Rocky Creek and Gullinbursti may re-oppose each other. The pair met in the Grade 2 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Doncaster in January with the former winning by three and three quarters of a length. He went on to finish eighth in the final at the Festival.
Gullinbursti won a novice hurdle at Exeter last November and went on to finish second to Knock A Hand in February at Newbury.
Philip Hobbs, who saddled Quinz to win in 2010, could run Volador whose season ended at Aintree when he finished down the field in the grade 3 Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle but prior to that he won a competitive handicap hurdle at Uttoxeter staying on well over the two miles four furlongs which suggests the step up in trip will suit.
The Hillofuisneach looked was progressive last season, running up a hat trick, until he came unstuck on heavy ground at Haydock when he was well beaten.
The action gets underway with the Dartmouth Term of “65” England Expects Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Hurdle (2.10pm) over two miles seven furlongs
Also on the card is the Barclays 40 Years of Wedded Bliss Novices’ Hurdle run over two miles and one furlong, the Robert Barclay Seniority Stakes Handicap Hurdle over two miles four furlongs, the Haldon Handicap Chase. The Connolly´s Red Mills Bumper Challenge "Junior" Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race concludes the card at 5.10pm.
Racecourse tours and tipsters talks with racing pundit Luke Harvey are available with raceday packages and there’s a free raceday bus service which leaves Exeter St David’s at 12.30pm and Exeter Bus & Coach Station at 12.45pm.