WE ENJOYED a fantastic weekend of racing last week, with two thrilling days at our annual William Hill Grimthorpe Chase meeting.
The Chase marked the end of our National Hunt fixtures, and it did so in some style with fantastic races that had the punters on their feet.
Friday was a thrilling encounter, with surprise victories and placings for a number of outsiders. Mistoffelees (11/2), ridden by Henry Brooke in the second fixture of the day, clinched a stunning victory from Catawollow, which, with odds of 40/1 will have made those who backed it each way a tidy sum in return. And the third race of the day was equally interesting with Lucky Landing romping to victory at 25/1.
Saturday was an equally exciting day, but a day for the favourites, with the biggest surprise of the day in the last race - Zefooha at 11/1 beating favourite Scales at 5/2.
With less than a week to go until the start of the Cheltenham Festival, we watched with interest as trainers made their final preparations for what is sure to be an epic end to the jumps season. Ferdy Murphy checked the form of his Cheltenham team - including last year’s winner Divers - with a post-racing gallop at the course following Saturday’s card.
Murphy oversaw the group as they completed a circuit of the course in a routine exercise, all ridden by members of his stable staff. The North Yorkshire-based trainer will fancy his chances after some hotly-tipped horses have failed to come good in time for Cheltenham. Much of the pre-festival gossip has been around the prospect of Kauto Star recovering from his fall while schooling at home at Ditcheat. With all of the usual pre-meeting build up, Cheltenham looks set to be another classic, and our eyes are firmly focused on it having held our last jumps fixture of the season here at Doncaster.
Of course, after the excitement of Cheltenham, we’ll be turning our attention to our first flat race of the season, The William Hill Lincoln, two days of thrilling racing on Saturday, March 31 and Sunday, April 1. The Lincoln is a real highlight in our racing calendar, and will be a stunning start to our summer racing line up.
For more information about Doncaster Racecourse, or to buy tickets for a race meeting or event, go to www.doncaster-racecourse.co.uk or call our box office on 01302 511 918.
* Jon Pullin is clerk of the course