Runners at Wincanton

08th November 2013

A Grand Day Out: Badger Ales Chase Day at Wincanton

I am really looking forward to Badger Ales Chase Day this Saturday at Wincanton, where I am Clerk of the Course. It is one of the richest racedays of our season and is always a favourite among us at the course, racegoers and connections.

We are always look to increase the prize money at Wincanton and Saturday has a £200,000 total prize fund. With great prize money on offer and so many top yards local to us, we always get a good turn out. Part of what makes this day so special is the connection with Badger Ales, part of local brewers Hall & Woodhouse, who have done so much to support Wincanton over the years.

The other part of what makes racing at Wincanton special is the people. Wincanton is a proper rural racecourse and our racegoers are people who know their horses & know their racing. That said, we are a very welcoming track too so if you are thinking of coming for your first visit, tomorrow is a great day to do it.

I was asked whether there were any horses people should look out for, but to be honest, if I do I am sure there will be some of our trainers looking to have a word or two with me, especially if I don’t pick the right one!

Saturday’s raceday has three highlights starting with the Totepool Elite Hurdle which has been won by some class horses, including Zarkandar last year. It is a great race where good horses come to the fore.

On the chasing side, the Rising Stars Chase always turns out to be a cracking race and is particularly good at throwing up future big players, like Silviniaco Conti who won in 2011. The field might be small, but it will be a quality one as local trainers like to target it.

Badger Ales Chase is a really popular race with racegoers and trainers. For the last three or four years we have had big fields in it – 16 or 18 runners – and with 22 entered we are hopeful we will get another good field. The local trainers have it as a point on their calendar and tend to have it as a early season aim for horses.

In a recent interview Paul Nicholls said that the Badger Ales Trophy is always a seasonal target and I’m pleased to see that Poungach is entered, after winning novice chases last season at Haydock and Kempton.  Paul admitted that Poungach still needs to improve on his jumping but he’s an out-and-out stayer who could be ideal for the Badger Ales Chase, and I know that Paul will have him ready to run for his life this Saturday.

The course is in excellent condition, the ground is a mixture of good and good to soft and it has a smashing covering of grass. I couldn’t be more pleased with it. The forecasters think it will be mostly dry in the run up to Saturday. There is rain forecast for Saturday night but it should be dry on the day itself.

We’ll be looking forward to welcoming the ultimate champ, AP McCoy and continuing his 4000 win celebration! Hope to see you there.

Tickets available at or on the day.