Welcome to my first Inside Track as Doncaster Racecourse’s clerk of the course, having taken the reins from my predecessor Jon Pullin.
I started my new role officially last week, though have been working with Jon for several weeks in the lead up to his departure, which coincided with the end of the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival.
Though I have taken on a role with Doncaster, I am actually still clerk of the course at its sister venue, Southwell Racecourse, an hour down the motorway.
It was great to be able to lend a hand, and provide support to Jon during the St Leger meeting, the biggest fixture in Doncaster Racecourse’s racing calendar. What a fantastic four days of racing it was – and always a challenge to ensure that the ground is at its best for each and every race.
Jon did a great job here, and the challenge for me will be to maintain the high standards kept by my predecessor and of course to ensure that I do what I can, working with the team at the racecourse, to get the public and racing world excited about the great National Hunt jump racing ahead here.
The priority will be to ensure that the track remains in good condition for the Racing Post Trophy, which gets underway here on October 26.
The two day meeting is always hugely popular, and is the penultimate flat meeting in our calendar, before the National Hunt season gets underway on November 10.
Conditions at Ayr were heavy at the weekend, a sign of the autumnal conditions we’re starting to see.
It didn’t stop Captain Ramius, ridden by Pat Smullen and trained by Yorkshire-based Kevin Ryan, to streak to victory in the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup. The six year old had been unable to run into a place on its two visits to Doncaster in 2010, but looked impressive, despite odds of 16/1.
Weather changes, with heavy rain this week, means that racecourses up and down the country may struggle to get through inspections.
We’re very lucky here to have a free draining track, which will no doubt stand us in good stead over the coming weeks and months as more wintery weather arrives.
For more information about forthcoming racedays at Doncaster Racecourse, or to buy tickets, go to www.doncaster-racecourse.co.uk or call 01302 511 918.