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Newcastle has played host to many Emma’s within the racing fraternity, Lavelle, Owen and Spencer a few notable to have graced Gosforth Park with their presence, but one Emma that made a significant mark on racing last week was of course storm Emma. The UK public gave her the nickname of the “Beast from the East” causing huge heartache for racing fans across the UK and Ireland. Here at Newcastle forcing two race meetings to be abandoned. Wednesday and Thursday's meetings were called off, although our fantastic grounds staff were able to keep the AW track in perfect condition, unfortunately the course didn’t have enough hands to keep public areas clear with constant snow blizzards making areas unsafe and Icey for both pundits and our equine athletes. Trainers not being able to travel due to being snowed in as well as motorways closures meant there was a possibility of runners not turning up on time. Storm Emma having a major impact on both All Weather and National Hunt fans alike.
However, racing was back to normal for the AW tracks on Saturday including Newcastle’s. The Bumpers Jumpers fixture was given the green light from the BHA allowing 7 fixtures sponsored by 188BET to give National Hunt horses a competitive racetrack gallop on the Tapeta surface. With National Hunt courses and stables combating with last month’s winter weather there has been a struggle for trainers to find good ground in preparation for Cheltenham. Nicky Henderson sent a handful of Cheltenham contenders including Might Bite, My Tent or Yours and Buveur D’Air to Kempton for a causal canter on the AW (non-racing day). The Bumpers Jumpers fixture allowed Northern trainers an opportunity for a much-needed competitive day of racing for their national hunt horses. With the spring season just around the corner, it could not have come quick enough.
One of many trainers who took advantage of this fixture was North Yorkshire trainer Brian Ellison who was born not far from the racecourse and was the most successful trainer on the day winning 3/7 races. The one winner that stood out was Forest Bihan who won the 188BET Best Priced Mullins Cheltenham Wednesday National Hunt Flat Race by 2 lengths. The 156 rated chasers was a very warm order in the betting to make it career win number 6. It was Brian Hughes once again who resumed front-running tactics on the well punted 2nd favourite William Of Orange, pursued by Jack Quinlan on Lough Salt, Danny Cook happy to track in third position on Forest Bihan. The five runners remained in Indian file for the vast majority of the contest, but the race started to unfold at the third furlong where William Of Orange came under hard riding with no real response, Forest Bihan arriving hard held and traveling in great style. The Resdev Way for inform combination Nichol and Kirby appeared to travel well onto the withers of the favourite. However, Cook allowed a further inch of rein and the contest was over in the twinkling of an eye. Forest Bihan pulling away from the group to have an impressive victory for the road to Cheltenham.
At Newcastle Racecourse we have an appreciation for all trainers/owners who continue to support the course, as well as Northeast racing and would like to thank personally all the Trainers, Jockeys and Stable Staff who were able to make the meeting on Saturday in such treacherous condition.
Mr. Ellison has entered Forest Bihan for the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase. The very last race of the Festival, hoping he can have a double on the card with Gold Cup Runner Definitely Red. The prices at 188BET are 20/1 and 16/1 non-runner no bet. With storm Emma closing schools, shops and roads, fortunately it couldn’t close Cheltenham. With staff ongoing clearing the track in preparation for the festival, they have since on Sunday 04/03/18 removed all snow from the track but with this has caused a bit of ease in the ground. The current going Soft, Good to Soft in places at Cheltenham
For Newcastle NH fixture on Tuesday the 6th was cancelled due to a waterlogged surface. Clerk of the course James Armstrong inspected the course at 8 am Monday to give an update on the condition of the track. Please see our website for up to date information as well as ticket and package offers for our Cheltenham Preview Evening. Owner Graham Wylie, racing pundit Gordon Clarkson, a 188BET representative, jockey Brian Hughes and a National Hunt trainer will be on the panel that will be sharing tips with guests and punters, ahead of the prestigious Cheltenham Festival 2018.The perfect opportunity for racing fans to hear from the racing experts about some of the contenders taking part at the Cheltenham Festival, including pictured 2017 Unibet Fighting Fifth winner and Champion Hurdle favourite, Buveur D'Air. Sponsored by 188BET.