By Peter Moore at Plumpton 12th February 2024
Monday afternoon saw Plumpton celebrate 140 years of racing. In 1884 the very first meeting at the picturesque Sussex track took place. The meeting took place with the opening race the Hunters Selling Plate worth £37 to the winner, which attracted a field of five runners with the winner Cowslip ridden by local jockey Harry Escott.
A lot has changed in 140 years, but one thing that hasn’t is the local enthusiasm shown by local racing fans.
On yet another afternoon which saw a very healthy crowd which was blessed with some pleasant February sunshine and some excellent racing.
The honours of Strong Flavours Raceday went to local trainer Chris Gordon who brought up a double by winning the opening two races on the card.
In the opening Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle race over 3m, Gordon saddled San Pedro to victory with Freddie Gordon in the saddle.
The Venetia Williams trained Hill Of Tara was sent off an odds on favourite at 8-11. Heading into the straight the winner looked to be coming from one of the pair before Hill Of Tara fell at the last to leave San Pedro well clear to win by 12 lengths.
It was a closer affair in the second race with Gordon’s Alto Alto just getting his nose in front to get the better of Prince Quali by a head.
Harry Cobden kept tabs on jockeys championship rival Sean Bowen by scoring on ex German racer Lario. It was his only mount at the Sussex track in the 2m maiden hurdle.
Cobden has now drawn level with Bowen on 122 winners after Bowen landed the opening race at Catterick on Pick A Number.
Lario failed to even get past the first hurdle on his debut at Sedgefield in December, but made amends today with his task made easier when six of the nine hurdles were omitted due to a low sun.’
Gary Moore’s top weight Kotmask justified his favourite tag by winning the 2m 3f novices handicap chase with Caoilin Quinn on board. Despite making a bad mistake at the last Quinn steered the six year old past the post with second placed Scarface a further length and a quarter behind.
Another local trainer who had a big smile on his face was Lewes based Jim Best. Co trainer of Colours On Canvas who relished the extra four furlongs trip by winning the Class 4 handicap hurdle.