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Press Release 21st August 2023 Carlisle

By Graham Clark

Carlisle Racecourse clerk of the course Harry Phipps hopes he can give his dad Fred a ‘run for his money’ when attempting to secure family bragging rights in the Newmarket Town Plate on Saturday (August 26th) which he admits would be a ‘real honour’ to taste victory in. 

The 27-year-old will swap his going stick for the saddle when taking part in the 353rd edition of the prestigious amateur contest, which was set up by King Charles II in 1666, who remains the only monarch to ever win the race (in 1671). 

Although having had a handful of point-to-point rides, and two spins on the Flat last year, Harry, who took up his current role at the Cumbrian track in April, insists he is looking forward to latest appearance on the racetrack given it is against his dad. 

He said: “Having watched dad in the race last year I thought there is every possibility of giving him a run for his money in the race this year.

“We were chatting a little bit earlier this year and we saw it as a good opportunity to grab something else to do together while we are both still fit enough to have a go at it. 

“Whether I give him a lead and he comes past me I don’t know, we will just have to play it by ear. 

“It will be a great event and I’m really looking forward to it and we will both being giving it a good go.

“If we can have a bit of a contest, whether that is in the main race, or just between ourselves, it would be great as not many people get the chance to ride against their relatives. It is something most parents and kids would dream of being able to do.

“It would be an amazing feeling to win the race as it has got a huge amount of history behind it. It would be a real honour to be anywhere near the front.”

While Harry, who lives in Rockcliffe, has been putting in the hard graft training for the Town Plate those efforts have doubled up in helping him prepare for his next challenge back on two legs when tackling the Lakes In A Day ultra-marathon on October 7th. 

Harry said: “Training has been good. I’ve been running and cycling quite a bit as I’ve got an ultra-marathon in October so training for the Town Plate has been a good prep for that.  

“The race I’m doing is called Lakes In A Day which is a 50 mile ultra-marathon from Caldbeck to Cartmel in the Lake District. 

“This is going to be my first ultra-marathon and I’ve not even done a standard marathon before. I don’t regret it yet anyway! 

“We have got High Pike, Blencathra and Helvellyn all to get up and over as well. It will be all good stuff.”

The battle on the racetrack might be between Harry and his dad, however he insists plenty of credit needs to be given to his mum Fiffa for helping prepare both his mount Passing Secrets, and his dad’s partner Christopher Robin ahead of their next assignment. 

He said: “I’m on a little horse called Passing Secrets and both he, and Christopher Robin are very much family horses. My mum Fiffa has been heavily involved with the training of the two of them and riding them out so it is a real family affair. 

“Passing Secrets has been a fairly consistent horse and finished in the frame at Cartmel last time out. He has been a wonderful horse to look after and ride. 

“Whether he gets the trip is a big question mark, but as long as we both enjoy it that is the main thing.”


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