A Newbury summer raceday giving pride of place to young blood - horses & riders - and there's a new face at the course
Newbury Racecourse's Dream Lodge Group Summer Raceday on Tuesday (August 7) was a revival of a fixture that was dropped from last year's list - and it opened with a win for Her Majesty the Queen's appropriately named youngster Magnetic Charm ridden by James Doyle and trained at Newmarket by William Haggas.
The card was marked by an emphasis on youth - six of the seven races were for two and three year-olds - and racing was preceded by two very professional looking pony races.
They were part of the series of races sponsored by Charles Owen - with jockeys aged between eleven and sixteen. These races often produce names to watch when pony jockeys graduate to apprentice and professional status.
The first race was for ponies of 138 centimetres and under - over six furlongs. This was won by fourteen year-old Push the Button (height 138) ridden by eleven year-old Thomas Bradbourne. On his way back to the weighing room he was waylaid by Rishi Persad for quick post-race interview on Racing UK. Rishi's view? "He's a good talker!"
The second race was over Newbury's straight mile for ponies of 148 centimetres and under - with the more experienced jockeys aged between fourteen and sixteen. This was won by eight year-old Shotgun Minnie (height 147) under Fergus Gillard - son of Dorset trainer Mark and brother of amateur jockey Theo.
The young thoroughbreds on the main card gave the crowd some very good racing.
This was Magnetic Charm's second outing - her first was at Newbury last month when she came third under James Doyle.
Doyle said afterwards that the filly had been a bit green on her debut and a slow out of the stalls: "But today she's pinged a lot better and has come on nicely from that first run. She gets this trip [6 furlongs] well and probably wants a bit further."
Going into the fixture, Marlborough trainer Richard Hannon was Newbury's lead trainer of the Flat season. He had eleven runners over the card.
But it was not his day. He did achieve three third places - Al Wafi and Gunforhire in the youngsters' races and four year-old Almoreb in the feature race over the straight mile.
If Gunforhire held on in a tight finish (with a neck between first and second and a head between second and third), then Almoreb (under Dane O'neill - replacing Jim Crowley who was ill) was pipped into third by a short head from Considered Opinion under Harry Bentley. Good racing!
There was a new and important face at the racecourse on Tuesday - Keith Ottesen who has been appointed Clerk of the Course to succeed Richard Osgood who retires at the end of the year.
He has joined Newbury this month and will shadow Richard Osgood through the remaining fixtures of 2018, until he takes over on 1 January 2019.Ottesen comes from his dual role as Clerk of the Course at Chepstow and Ffos Las.
He told Racing Post: "I've got a bit to learn, but the nice thing is there's a bit of time with the latter part of the Flat season and then the jumping, so it should give me a good grounding."
"I'm just delighted and privileged to come and work at a place like Newbury."
Next at Newbury Racecourse is their August two-day fixture: Friday, August 17 and on Saturday, August 18 it's Ladies Day - followed by Rudimental DJ.