Newbury Racecourse: attendance up for both Ladbrokes Winter Carnival days
For many the quality of the racing over Newbury Racecourse's two-day Ladbrokes Winter Carnival will last long in the memory - and the crowds to see it were bigger than ever.
There were plenty of people there to enjoy it. Numbers attending were up for both days with a combined total attendance of just over 23,500. The Friday crowd seemed to this reporter to be much larger than in previous years.
Roanna Scouse was one of the winners of the marlboroughequestrian.news competition for five pairs of tickets for Ladbrokes Trophy Day - tickets kindly donated by the Racecourse. She has sent us this description of her day:
Thank you - we had such a great day. I took my daughter with me. We backed a horse each in the big race, I had De Rasher Counter & my daughter Dingo Dollar - as she loves 'I’m a celebrity'.
The reason I backed mine was because I went to a pre-Ladbrokes Winter Carnival evening meeting that week at the racecourse - it was a charity fundraiser for the Injured Jockeys Fund.
One of the panel [Ladbrokes' Nicola McGeady] talked about this horse. Then on ITV's Saturday morning 'Opening Show', Luke Harvey also tipped it.
I would totally recommend anyone to go to this preview as it gives you so much information about the Ladbrokes meeting over the Friday & Saturday along with some tips, drinks reception and supper.
It was a fantastic race which we watched by the winning post. A lot of horses were in with a chance, but Ben Jones managed to hold them off to win it. The young 20 year-old jockey was over the moon when we watched him enter the parade ring. The whole day was wonderful, great atmosphere. Many thanks.
Another person with very special memories of the two-day meeting is Andrew Gemmell. After hurdler Paisley Park's stellar last season, there was some natural anxiety about his first run of the new jumps season. But he won The Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle in fine style - once again partnered by Aidan Coleman.
And the following day he saw De Rasher Counter take the feature race, the Ladbrokes Trophy. Gemmell, who has been blind since birth and is a great sports fan, is a member of the Makin' Bacon Partnership that owns Der Rasher Counter. Both horses are trained by Emma Lavelle.
After the first race on Friday, Gemmell was on the winner's podium (see photos) at Newbury to hand out two awards. He is a member of The Twelve Club which was formed in 1924 by racing enthusiasts.
Recently they have started a similar national hunt competition.At the start of each Flat season, its 200 members choose 12 horses and invest a notional £1 at their starting price whenever they run.
The members make donations to racing charities and since 1988 have had a connection with The British Racing School and since 1993 have made an award to the School's best trainees.
This year Andrew Gemmell made the awards to Murray Dodd (who works at Dan Skelton's yard) and Megan Lyth (who works at Emma Lavelle's yard - and Megan has made the shortlist - announced on December 3 - for the 2020 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards.
Meanwhile this week, Gemmell was chosen as owner of the year by the Horserace Writers and Photographers Association. And next week could see another award - from the Racehorse Owners Association.