Leicester Racecourse-one of my favourite places. Why? Because you are so close to the action you can almost touch the horses. Admittedly, the racing isn’t of the highest class but you can never have a dull day at the races when there is competitive racing going on.
The card was made up of eight races- four for two year olds, a seller, a decent class two handicap and two divisions of class five handicaps.
The first race was for the two year olds and the favourite was Global Heat trained by Saheed Bin Suroor and ridden by Oisin Murphy. He was a very good second on debut with the third and fourth winning since. Mark Johnston inmate Quintada made the running and set a good pace over the one mile trip with the favourite close behind. He wasn’t able to quicken over the rising ground about a furlong from home and Faro Angel stalked to the lead and passed the Godolphin horse. Laafy put up a brilliant late run to grab second from him and gave the most eye catching performance of the day for me. The winner was handed a race controversially last time out but there was no fluke about this performance as he did it really nicely. The first three have big futures!
On paper, the race looked pretty open. It was a seller over seven furlongs. There was no standout performer in the race and the winner was Lady Alavesa, the 7/4 favourite. She was held up but made good headway to tackle the long-time leader Slipstream on the line. Luke Morris rode the second placed runner and he stuck to the stands side rail like glue the whole way. He’ll be winning again soon as long as the handicapper doesn’t give him a big rise in the weights. They pulled five lengths ahead of the third and a further five lengths ahead of the fourth horse home. Surprisingly, this daughter of Westlake wasn’t bought by anyone but has been added to the ‘Strictly Fun Racing Club’ who own Purple Rock who ran in the seventh race.
The next race was the best based on class of the day. It attracted some of the most loveable and consistent handicappers- Brian The Snail, Masham Star and Shady McCoy. He latter looked absolutely brilliant in the prelims considering he’s an eight year old and he was 5/2 Favourite at the off. Top weight Muntadab made most of the running and was paddling a bit inside the final furlong with the others finishing quickly but he managed to hold on to win by half a length. He was second by a short head up at Musselburgh less than twenty four hours before and I was surprised he even ran in this race but to win was a brilliant training performance.
The fourth race was a maiden for less exposed horses. Some of these were a bit novice in the prelims but all behaved well. Three of the untaxed horses- Revolutionise, City Master and Mukha Magic- really caught my eye. The John Gosden runner in the line up took them along and was a bit keen. He was headed one furlong from home by Estihdaaf and he ran on very impressively to score by two lengths to Mokammal, who was having his first start, in second. This horse has a big future and will have come on leaps and bounds for that run. I wouldn’t be surprised if him and the other Godolphin two year old who ran in the first, Global Heat, were put away now and saved for their three year old campaigns.
The horse I was most excited to see on the day was Come On Leicester. She ran in the fifth race on the card. Listed and group placed, she should realistically bolt home against some average fillies. The jockeys did very well to get to the six furlongs start in one piece as the fillies threw some interesting shapes. Excelled was very on her toes and jig-jogged down to the start and Knighthayes was a bit more excited than her and put in some flashy rears, which Rhiain Ingram did well to sit. Come On Leicester wasn’t making it easy for jockey Jim Crowley to get on board and went most of the walkway on two feet. Her market rival, Gospel, went nicely to post and so did the other more experienced runner, Aquarius. This was reflected in the betting as Gospel began to shorten and Come On Leicester drifted to 9/4 at the off. She was rated 17lbs higher than her nearest pursuer and won like such a horse should. Jim Crowley kicked for home at two furlongs out and she lengthened under hands and heels to win by two and three quarter lengths.
The winners of the two divisions of the handicap that concluded the card were both having a change to their last start. The winner of the first division was 8/1 chance Sunday Prospect. Karl Burke’s gelding was having a step up in trip. I was very confident he would go well as his dam won over this trip on soft ground so, when he won very convincingly, I was made up! He’d been close the whole way but accelerated well to prevail from Perfect Refuge in second. The final race was won by a son of Frankel named Crystal King, who was also a half brother to Crystal Ocean. He had shown absolutely nothing on all of his starts before hand and had been beaten a total of fifty eight lengths. Before running in this, he was gelded which made the world of difference as he bolted up to win by two and three quarter lengths.
He finished a really enjoyable day with a bang! There were some brilliant performances by some progressive two year olds and it was great to see Muntadab win after falling short the day before. My performance of the day was seeing Come On Leicester win. I think she has a big future over sprint trips and maybe even stretching up to seven furlongs/ a mile.
As always, the staff on the gate were really friendly and helpful and the facilities were clean. There wasn’t a huge crowd which was to be expected as it was mid-week and lots of the schools nearby weren’t off yet and I think everyone had a good day out. I was speaking to a man who was part of a racing club and he was very pleased that winning connections got a slice of cake and a glass of champagne after their winner.
I really recommend coming to Leicester Racecourse. It’s not the biggest but it’s a gorgeous course and I love it because can get so close to the action. You can see most of the track from the old fashioned blue stand close to the parade ring. There are always a few bookmakers so you can shop around for the best odds. It is also very easy to get to from pretty much anywhere in the country. You can get the train to Leicester then catch the 31/31A to the racecourse, which stops right outside the station and the journey only takes about ten minutes. Parking facilities are also very good.
P.s. For people wondering, the National hunt track looks in great condition!