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2023/24 Season Wrap Up

Article 2nd May 2024 Wincanton

By Clerk of the Course Tom Ryall


The off season also gives a chance to reflect on what was a challenging but successful 2023-2024 campaign.

A total of 424mm of rainfall hit the track between July 2023 and October 2023. Compared to 230mm for the same period in 2022, meant that Good, Good to Soft was the official going for our season opener on October 19th.

Spectators that were in attendance to welcome in the new season, would have witnessed the striking grey mare, My Silver Lining, winning the 3m1f Handicap Chase by an easy 10 lengths. Winning off an official BHA rating of 113, Emma Lavelle’s mare would later go on to claim Warwick’s feature race of their season, ‘The Classic Chase’, as well as running with real credit in both the Grand National Trial at Haydock & the Midlands Grand National at Uttoexeter. Finishing her season now rated 132. Maybe a return to Wincanton in November is on the cards for her?

If you needed further evidence of just how wet of a Summer/Autumn we’d had, then look no further than our official going description for our 2nd fixture of the season on October 29th. For Wincanton to be racing on Soft, Heavy ground before the end of October is almost unheard of. A real sign of some unusually wet summer months. 

A record £270,000 was on offer, for our feature raceday of the season. Badger Beers Chase Day, completing leg 2 of what was again a hugely successful and fast growing ‘West Country Weekend’. Two local trainers in Paul Nicholls & Anthony Honeyball, ensured that the prize money didn’t go too far, sharing 6 of the 7 races. Honeyball’s ‘Blackjack Magic’ took the feature by 3 lengths. Lowering the colours of reigning champion ‘Frodon’ in the process.

Further heavy rainfall throughout November & early December, paused proceedings briefly, taking our first December fixture. However, some quick work from the team, meant we gained an additional fixture, just a week after the abandonment. Our pre-Christmas fixture, saw the addition of the ‘Lady Godiva Mares Novices Chase’, a Class 1 Listed event transferred from the abandoned Warwick, where ‘Arclight’ for Mr Henderson & De Boinville secured some valuable black type.  

A very busy, but successful Boxing Day & 2 early January fixtures. Was followed swiftly by a cold spell, which stopped us in our tracks, freezing off our final January fixture. Attentions quickly turned to Kingwell Hurdle day. Heavy ground was the order of the day once again. Kerry Lee trained ‘Nemean Lion’ won the feature from Irish raider ‘Colonel Mustard’, with ‘Goshen’ up to his old tricks back in a distant third. 

Into the spring, Harry Cobden helped his Jockey’s tittle challenge with 5 winners throughout our March fixtures. Before our season was brought to a close on our Family Fun Day. Commercially a success, supported with heathy & completive fields on the track. Along with a strong renewal of the Military riders Handicap Hurdle.

Wincanton’s leading Jockey & Trainer awards once again only goes as far as Ditcheat. With Paul Nicholls & Harry Cobden taking tops spots respectively.

The 2023-2024 season also saw change in leadership at the racecourse. Blaithin Murphy joined as General Manager in November. Taking the reins from Jack Parkinson, who is now solely based at his beloved Exeter. Clerk of the Course Daniel Cooper completed his moved back north to Haydock Park. Dan had 5 very successful season in his role of Clerk of the Course at Wincanton. Overseeing a number of huge improvements and changes. We wish Dan all the very best for his new venture. 

Please look out for future communications from Wincanton this summer, ahead of our 2024-2025 season opener on Thursday October 17th.


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