Friday sees the first of two meetings at Warwick this month and features a new perpetual trophy race in honour of the legendary jockey Stan Mellor who passed away on 1 August, writes David Hucker.
Mellor was three times champion jockey (1960-1962) and the first to reach 1,000 winners over jumps, a feat he achieved on the grey Ouzo at Nottingham in December 1971. By the time he retired from the saddle a year later, Mellor had a secured a total of 1,035 wins, although they came at a cost of 750 falls at a time when the standard of protective clothing was nowhere near that of today.
At Warwick, he rode 37 winners, including success in the Warwick Chase on the prolific winner Crudwell. On retiring, he went on to train over 700 more from his base in Lambourn.
The Stan Mellor Memorial Novices' Chase is the third race on the card and Allmankind, winner on his hurdles debut over the course and third in the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, is well in at the weights on his chasing debut for Dan Skelton.
Dual hurdle winner Fred, who skipped an engagement in a similar race at Stratford last week, is another making his chasing debut, whereas Stolen Silver has a run under his belt, having finished third at Newton Abbot last month.
The meeting gets underway at 11.55pm with the Visit racingtv.com Juvenile Hurdle in which Adagio, an eight-length winner at Clairefontaine in August, makes his British debut for David Pipe. Lustleigh was a last flight faller when in third place on his debut at Wetherby and Duke Of Condicote comes here on the back of a run on the flat at Yarmouth three weeks ago where he finished runner-up to Opera Gift over one and a half miles on soft ground.
Next up is the racingtv.com Novices' Hurdle in which Wilde About Oscar, a bumper winner here last December, and Fraternet both look to follow up hurdle wins last time. Major Dundee was a last-flight faller when staying on behind Welsh Saint on heavy ground over a longer trip at the course last year.
Sorbet, still to win a race, was not disgraced when runner-up to the in-form Pink Sheets at the last meeting and looks to go one better in the Bet At racingtv.com Handicap Hurdle.
Follow The Swallow bids for a hat-trick in the longest race of the afternoon, the Racing TV Profits Returned To Racing Handicap Chase over three and a quarter miles, and Write It Down will be ridden by promising jockey Kevin Brogan in the Join Racing TV Now Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Chase.
The closing British EBF Mares' Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race has been divided into two. Let's Get Real, beaten three lengths by Jersey Lady at Ludlow, runs in the first division for the Skeltons and, in the second, Irish point-to-point winner Blue Sans is one of ten horses making their racecourse debuts.