Today’s Throwback Thursday continues Warwick’s look at the racecourse’s history when it will be reliving some of its most memorable races on the big screen throughout the day, writes David Hucker.
The celebration of racing on the town course spanning 310 years started at the Betfred Classic Chase Day two weeks ago when a racing memorabilia and history event was held in the Paddock Pavilion with a display and talks from racing personalities including historian Chris Pitt.
The win of Milansbar in the feature race was another for the history books as jockey Bryony Frost became only the second female to win after amateur Rosemary Henderson in 1993 when the race was known as the Brooke Bond Oxo National.
Today’s six-race card kicks off at 12.55pm with the Premier Thoroughbred Racing Juvenile Hurdle over two miles, which has attracted 21 entries, including French bumper winner Empreinte Reconce, who faded in the final furlong on her English debut at Newbury and would need to step up on her jumps debut here to justify the entry she holds at the Cheltenham Festival.
Others to note are Fields Of Fortune, who was staying on behind the useful We Have A Dream when unseating Wayne Hutchinson at the final flight over the course in November and bypassed an engagement at Wetherby on Tuesday, and Swaffham Bulbeck, who won a maiden on heavy ground at Nottingham when trained by Ed Vaughan and is now in the care of Olly Murphy.
Murphy sent 11 horses to Fakenham in Norfolk on Monday, returning home with four winners, with champion jockey Richard Johnson and conditional Fergus Gregory sharing the spoils with two apiece. They took his seasonal score to 36 over jumps and, with another two on the flat, a half century is now within sight in his first season as a trainer.
Wide-margin course winner Molly The Dolly could strike again for trainer Dan Skelton in the British Stallion Studs EBF Mares' "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle, although Petticoat Tails from the in-form stable of Warren Greatrex is improving and should also go well. Course ambassador Skelton continues to send out the winners and a double on Tuesday took him to 128 for the season.
With the going likely to be very testing, the runners will need reserves of stamina for the Whitson Bloodstock Olly Murphy Handicap Chase over three miles and one and a half furlongs, something that horses trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, who has three entries, seem to have in abundance. Yanmare stayed on dourly to score over a longer trip at Exeter last time and a 4lb rise in the weights shouldn’t stop him winning again.
The distance is even longer for the Class 3 Racing UK Free For A Month Handicap Hurdle, the feature race of the day, and Polydora, trained by Tom Lacey who was on the mark at the last meeting, looks interesting on his handicap debut.
Poole Master and Mon Parrain fought out the finish in a hunter chase here last March and they have both been entered in the Willoughby De Broke Open Hunters' Chase over three miles. The runner-up, who was trained at the time by Paul Nicholls, is now with Kim Smyly and is 5lb better off at the weights. He will be ridden by last year’s champion lady amateur Page Fuller.
Both are at the veteran stage and have an extra six furlongs to cover today, so it may pay to take a chance with the younger Bivouac who was rated at 147 at his best when trained by Nicky Henderson.
There is another large entry for the closing HM Equine Insurance Intermediate Open National Hunt Flat Race and, with not much form to go on, the betting market may be the best guide.