By Samantha (20/8/18)
Leicester racecourse may not be one of the biggest or hold the best races like Ascot or Cheltenham but every time I visit, there is always a brilliant, friendly atmosphere and it’s always a great day out.
The course on a nice day is absolutely gorgeous. The old fashioned blue stands stand out against the back drop of red brick houses just ten minutes on the bus from the city centre. It is always bright with colour and there are lots of vantage points to get the best view of the racing. From the stands, you can pretty much see the entire course. There are always a fair few bookmakers lined up ready to take bets and there are a couple of bars and Tote betting places around the course.
At first glance, the card didn’t look anything special. Of the six races, the majority were class five contests and for two year olds but the racing did not disappoint! There were some thrilling, blanket finishes to most of the races but it wasn’t a particularly good day for favourite backers with none managing to win and only a few placing.
The straight course was the one mainly in use on this raceday and it is relatively undulating. From the seven furlong start, the horses travel downhill and then go up hill to the two pole where it begins to flatten out.
The first race was over the straight six furlongs for two year olds. Eleven runners went to post with the absence of number five Capla Rock. They all jumped well apart from Porcelain Girl who dwelt and found herself at the back of the field. Red Hut Red led with Happy Odyssey at her shoulder. She began to fade at the two pole when Happy Odyssey got to the front. There was a few in contention but Porcelain Girl flew down the outside of the field under a typical, text book Jamie Spencer ride. The filly just headed Happy Odyssey on the line to win and they were a neck ahead of Kwela in third.
Jamie Spencer gained a second win of the day in the next race aboard Floria Tosca. The filly made all of the running and just held off a strong challenge from Cheerfilly, who dwelt and was held up by Richard Kingscote for a late, eye catching challenge. She went down just half a length and will be winning soon. They didn’t go a very quick gallop so there were four horses in contention at the finish. The 2/1 favourite Point In Time, who beat Florida Tosca last time just failed to get in the each way places as he could only manage fourth.
A really eye catching horse in the parade ring was Firmdecisions. He stood out not just because he was turned out really nicely and looked very well but because of his silver mane. The Captain Rio gelding had won over course and distance before and was a pound lower than then and, considering the way he ended up winning, his price of 11/1 seems very big. The eight year old was in mid-division throughout until his jockey, Lewis Edmunds, made his challenge at the furlong marker and he zipped into the lead to prevail by a length to Blizzard in second, who out-ran his odds of 25/1.
Over The Guns went into the fourth race as a really short favourite as he won quite well on debut and he was the only horse who had got his head in front on the line before. The colt’s owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who is the chairman of Leicester City football club, and the King Power Racing team were in attendance to see their six horses race. They had to wait to get their first winner of the day though as he raced just behind the leaders but was under pressure from just over a furlong out and never got closer. He rallied for fourth though but the first three were over a length ahead of him. The eventual second had taken them along for most of the way but was hanging right when he was asked to quicken. Silkstone came up on the horse’s right and was gun-barrel straight and prevailed by a neck under William Cox. Stella Comet ran well into third for Mark Johnston and PJ McDonald and is likely to get off the mark soon.
The next race was the Gallowgate Nursery. King Power Racing got their winner in this race when Chonburi made all the running to land the contest without being challenged at all under Rossa Ryan, who is a very good jockey from the front. Leicester City players Wes Morgan and Jamie Vardy were present for the winners’ presentation and posed for the camera beside the winning connections.
The owners had a good chance to get a quick fire double on the last contest of the day with the Andrew Balding trained Rux Ruxx but she could only manage third after being out paced from two furlongs out. Eventual winner, Roys Dream, made the majority of the running and got to the line a length ahead of old boy Ninjago, who finished with a flourish but he couldn’t pass Paul Collins’ filly. The victory knocked rider Patrick Vaughn’s claim down to 5lbs as it was the twentieth win of his fledgling career and definitely earned his fee just by pulling up the horse, who fancied going again. It was brilliant to see how emotional the winning owner, Mrs Pickering, was after the race when she got her prize.
Some trainers had good days and others didn’t. Mark Johnston came into the day needing just one winner to be the winning-most British flat trainer ever. He had three decent chances to get a winner but none could oblige so he is still searching for that record-breaking win.
Leicester is a great course because you can get up close to the stars of the sport- both the jockeys and the horses- at no extra cost (on most race days). It is incredible that you can go and talk to the jockeys and ask them to sign your racecard before they go out to ride and I was very lucky to meet lots of jockeys that I haven’t met before. I spoke to PJ McDonald about Laurens and he seemed really excited to ride her at York this week in the Yorkshire Oaks. To top my already incredible day off, I got to meet Alan King, the trainer of my all-time favorite racehorse Smad Place, and it was brilliant of him to talk to me. You’d never be able to talk to a football player or manager before their match, would you?
Hats off to the Leicester Racecourse staff, who did a really good job of making it a brilliant day out for everyone who went- win, lose or draw.
Here are some more photos from my day out…