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Looking back at the Kingwell Hurdle

Press Release 24th January 2017 Wincanton

Former winning jockey, RICHARD LINLEY, recalls his 1983 winning moment

Monday, 23rd January 2017 – Next month (Saturday, 18th February) Wincanton will stage its Cheltenham Festival Champion Hurdle trial in the form of the Grade Two, Betway Kingwell Hurdle which is run over a two mile distance.

With nearly half a century of past winners, we look back with former jump jockey and Somerset resident – Richard Linley – on winning the 1983 Kingwell Hurdle on board the Migrator.

Richard Linley says about his racing career:

“I held a jockey’s licence for 16 years, which was considered plenty long enough in my day but short-lived in today’s comparisons.

“I’m not sure how my passion for racing evolved.  As a child, I was more interested in watching motorbike scrambling but my mother insisted that we watch ITV Seven.  After years of doing as I was told, and having spent my youth riding pony club level and enjoying country pursuits, my teenager years started to be dominated by horseracing.

“A local Frome-based trainer called Tom Tucker kindly introduced me to Toby Balding and once I turned 14-years-old, every holiday was spent with the legendary trainer.  Toby had a history of spotting talent with the likes of Adrian Maguire and Sir Anthony McCoy graduating from his establishment. 

“I left school and embarked on a career in racing - capturing my first winner in 1972. Through my career, I moved to Wiltshire, Devizes and where ever I could find a property to practice my DIY skills!  I eventually moved back to the Wincanton vincity in the late 1980’s, where it remains my home.

“My career highlights include victory in the 1983 Champion Hurdle in 1983 on Gaye Brief, a Hennessy title, three Mackinsons and the Mildmay Hurdle.”

Richard’s comments about winning at Wincanton:

“It was always nice to ride a winner at your local track and even more special to have won their most prestigious races - I have a Kingwell Hurdle and Badger Ales title on my CV.

“Wincanton is a course that has improved dramatically over the years. It’s always been a quick, competitive track.  The biggest changes over the years are the number of fixtures Wincanton hosts – 17 as opposed to 12 back in my day.  They also have taken in more ground and have a greater track width.

“In the 1983 Kingwell Hurdle, Broad Sword trained by David Nicholson and ridden by Peter Scudamore was favourite.  I was riding Migrator trained by Les Kennard.  My horse had a history of breaking blood vessels and if I’m honest, both Broad Sword and Migrator were Champion Hurdle contenders not Champion Hurdle winners.  In fact, Migrator went on to be the lead horse the following month for my mount, Gaye Brief in the Champion Hurdle, which I won.

“Migrator was a tough little horse and we made all the running to be challenge by Scu at the last.  It’s was always tough to beat Scu but after a clean jump of the final flight, we battled on to win the 1983 Kingwell Hurdle.

“I was kindly gifted Migrator and suggested that the horse should enjoy his retirement at the British Racing School in Newmarket, where he was ridden, loved and helped educate the next generation of jockeys.

“In 1987 I won the Arkle on Gala’s Image and subsequently had to endure enforced leave having dislocated my shoulder.  Rides on good horses were started to ease and my head needed to rule my heart.  I retired from riding in the summer of 1987 and grasp the opportunity to join the British Horseracing Board as an Inspector of Course.”

Richard is now the Senior Inspector of Courses for the BHA and regular inspects Wincanton with the on-course official team and Clerk of the Course ahead of the season and racedays.

The Betway Kingwell Hurdle takes place on Saturday, 18th February with selected races from the meeting also live on ITV Racing.

Tickets for the Betway Kingwell Hurdle Raceday start from £16 per person for advance grandstand entry with a £2 increase on the day.  Premier enclosure prices are £21 advance / £23 on the day.  Book now on 0344 579 3014 or visit

Huw Williams, General Manager of Wincanton Racecourse, said: “The Kingwell is a fantastic contest for top quality horses eyeing the iconic Cheltenham Festival.

“We look forward to welcoming racegoers to this competitive raceday where we will be reliving many Kingwell moments.”

About Wincanton Racecourse:

Wincanton Racecourse is situated in the heart of Somerset – home to rural jump racing. Wincanton stages 18 meetings each season.  Please find more details at and through Twitter (@WincantonRaces) and Facebook 


Wincanton Racecourse is part of The Jockey Club, which has been at the heart of British racing for more than 260 years. Today the largest commercial group in the sport, The Jockey Club runs the largest racecourse group in the UK by turnover (2015: £174.2m), attendances (2015: 1.95m), total prize money (2015: £43.9m), contribution to prize money (2015: £19.9m) and quality racing (Group and Graded races); more than 3,000 acres of world-class training grounds in Newmarket, Lambourn and Epsom Downs; The National Stud breeding enterprise and education provider; and the charity for racing's people in need, Racing Welfare. Governed by Royal Charter, every penny The Jockey Club makes it puts back into British racing. More information is available at


For further information please contact:

Hannah Walker, Wincanton Racecourse on 07971 598287 or


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