Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Listed) (3yo+, 2m 104y, Class 1, 6 runners)
There aren’t too many big races, that are held at Taunton Racecourse. On Friday, this small Somerset Racecourse takes centre stage in the UK. Which horses are most likely to win the Listed Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle?
The Midnight Legend-sired 6-year-old has finished 1st or 2nd in all bar one of her 10 races. Too often, she’s been the bridesmaid, but victories at both Warwick and Newbury this year should give connections plenty of hope here. She hit the 3rd from home, last time out and lost her appetite somewhat. Still needs to prove she has a genuinely winning mentality.
Paul Nicholls 5-year-old is unbeaten in her 2 starts and looks very promising. She made all, on debut at Hereford, before somewhat farcically beating Alizee Javilex (who went off at 9/4) by 86 lengths at Ludlow. She’s sired by Beneficial and out of Black Mariah. She hasn’t beaten much yet, but victory here will set tongues wagging.
She didn’t enjoy any market-support, in the G2 Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race at Aintree and could only finish in mid-division. Nicky Henderson then sent her to Uttoxeter, where she won over hurdles at the first attempt. Visibility was so bad on that day that details of the race are sketchy, but she triumphed by 9 lengths and looks capable of winning at least a Listed contest at some point in her career.
Betting Tip: Coilte Lass (2 points win)
A Brief History Of Taunton Racecourse
The course can be found in a village called Orchard Portman, which is only a couple of miles to the south of this grand old town. Unlike most British racecourses, Taunton is not especially old and did not exist before the mid-1920s. Every other National Hunt course in Great Britain is older than Taunton. Until a few years ago, it was the newest racecourse of all. That mantle has now been passed to Great Leighs, which opened in 2008.
That is not to say that no racing took place in this area, before the course was built. Events were taking place before the Napoleonic Wars. At the early part of the Nineteenth-Century, all turf activity ceased – mainly due to lack of interest. This didn’t last long, however, and races were taking place again by 1825.
At that time, the racing were being held on land that is now home to a local college. For a short while, land in nearby Trull Moor was used. Bridgwater provided the venue, from time to time, but a settled home had not been found. When the First World War broke out, all racing ceased once again.
In the 1920s, the Taunton Racecourse Company was formed. Viscount Portman gave permission for the construction of a proper racecourse on his own land. In September of that year, the first races began to take place. Spectators’ only protection from the elements was a few wooden huts. The first race to be held was called the Shoreditch Selling Hurdle and it was won by a horse called Baalbek.
Modern Day Facilities
Nowadays, there are three proper stands, as well as facilities for entertaining and business conferences. The track is oval-shaped and the bends are very acute and testing. The horses run right-handed over the one mile and two furlongs track.
Taunton Racecourse has been hugely helped by the building of the M5 motorway. Not only did it immediately become easier for spectators to reach the course, the earth that was dug locally during it’s construction was used to build an extended straight.
Taunton is a terrific little course which always provides a great atmosphere on race days. As it is in the South-West area of England, it becomes very popular with tourists during the Summer months. Hordes of people make their way down to Taunton Racecourse on sunny days, to watch the racing while enjoying a glass or two of the local cider.