It’s been an explosive start to 2019 with no fewer than four racedays hosted since the turn of the year.
Shortly after 3.35pm on Tuesday 2 January, Cloudlam completed a commanding performance to become the first Newcastle winner of the year. Seven days and 28 races later, we have been witness to some fantastic equine performances and a few wonderful feel good racing stories.
There has been no more popular winner than Royal Reserve, who won the Parklands Golf Club Handicap Hurdle on Saturday. Owned by London Scots For Doddie, and trained by Grand National winning trainer Lucinda Russell, Royal Reserve is in essence one of two horses running for charity. That charity is the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, setup by former international rugby player Doddie Weir, with its purpose to raise awareness and treatment funding for Motor Neurone Disease, which Doddie suffers with himself. All winnings of the two horses under the London Scots For Doddie ownership go directly to the charity. The racecourse team would like to wish connections all the best for the year ahead with their runners.
On the same card, Trevor Hemmings and Tim Easterby notched up a double with two very promising types, one of which (Mountain Hawk) won from a seemingly impossible position when turning for home, check it out by clicking here. In the final race of the day, the all-weather bumper, Zakharova was victorious for trainer Laura Morgan, and ridden by Ross Chapman. In achieving victory, Ross rode out his apprentice claim and therefore became a professional jockey. Subsequently, Ross won on his first ride as a pro, at Musselburgh on Monday, and followed this up by winning two of his next three rides, all at Ayr.
The good news stories haven’t just been isolated to the jumps action. On yesterday evening’s all-weather card, multiple Group winning trainer David Griffiths finally got off the mark at Newcastle, sending out his first ever winner at the racecourse (Archimedes in the Betway Casino Handicap). It hasn’t been for the lack of trying though as David has sent 54 horses to Newcastle over the years, with only three runner-up places to show for his efforts. With only one runner here yesterday, perhaps this is a sign of David’s Newcastle fortunes changing in 2019!
One to watch from earlier on the same card is the Juddmonte Farms owned Set Piece, who was a reasonably cosy winner of the Ladbrokes Novice Stakes, in the hands of Luke Morris. The three-year-old colt, trained by Hugo Palmer, is now unbeaten in both of his starts. The horse is obviou§sly highly regarded as he has been offered odds for one of the greatest flat races in the world, the Investec Epsom Derby, in June. Although now training in Newmarket, Hugo was raised in the North East, at his family home of Manderston House in Berwickshire, and it’s fantastic he continues to support the North East by sending some of his best horses here.
Even more locally, trainer Karen McLintock, who trains less than 20 miles from the racecourse, was victorious with her first runner of the year, here at Newcastle. Grey Mist won Sunday’s Betway Handicap, in the hands of Jason Hart. The horse was winning over C&D for the second time in under a month, following a 418 day break and a change of trainer.
The action continues thick and fast here, with seven more fixtures here before the month of January is out. Details of all racedays and events can be found in the What’s On section of our website. Keep up to date with the latest news and info via Facebook and Twitter.