Sunday was the first raceday of 2019 for Plumpton Racecourse, a day that had been hyped up for a long time but even more so after the entries six days prior.
Horses with grade 1 pedigree from Ireland, France and England descended on the small course in East Sussex which also bought the crowd. A fresh winters day did not deter the punters, and they were in for a treat with seven competitive races.
Brandon Castle was the first winner at Plumpton in 2019. A race that played out to form and expectation, leading from the start under Bryony Frost jumped well and ended 6 lengths clear of Chris Gordon’s Baddesley Prince.
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The second race of the day, being spoken about as the ‘Plumpton Arkle’ in the racing post, it did not disappoint. With horses from France, Ireland and England it was a fairy-tale story! Knocknanuss of local trainer Gary Moore lead from the front but was tracked the whole way by the French, Master Dino.
Both jumping superbly the whole way around it was neck and neck going into the 2nd last, but a perfect jump at the last by Master Dino and acceleration meant Master Dino carried on with his winning streak, making it 6 wins in a row, and now favourite for the JLT at Cheltenham in March.
The third race with 13 runners was one that could have gone six ways when they came around the last. Plumpton Annual Members owned Debestyman was ahead by ½ a length coming around the bottom bend and shows great form and is sure to win this season. Harry Fry trained Phoenix Way just had a little too much class for the field, and a well timed finish meant he got his first win on the sheet, but the first 6 will be ones to watch for sure.
The Download The At The Races App Handicap Hurdle was one by Duc Kauto, for Colin Tizzard. A surprise winner according to Colin himself, but he was always in and about the leaders tracking the leaders throughout. A good final jump and furlong meant he just had enough to assert the win from about 100 yards out.
The feature race of the day, worth over £30,000 the Sky Sports Racing Sussex National Handicap Chase. A brilliant, energy sapping race with great ground and conditions proved for a great spectacle.
Somerset trained Two Amigos was the favourite going into the race despite having the highest weight of 11st12lbs. Leading right from the start and never looking in trouble the odds were correct and jockey Matt Griffiths and trainer Nicky Martin win the Sussex National for the first time.
The Bowen combination of Sean and Peter was a winning one once again! Not his most fluent run to date but it was good enough to record a second win over fences for Alf ‘N’ Dor.
The last race of a brilliant Sunday at Plumpton was won by First Quest, trained by Jim Boyle and ridden by Robert Dunne. A well-timed push from Robert Dunne after tracking the leaders from midfield for the majority of the race until the second last and ran strongly to take the lead and the final race of the day.