Racing returns to Plumpton

RACING takes place at Plumpton on Sunday after a near five month break and the Ladies Day meeting is the perfect way for the course to celebrate the return to action, with the extra dash of fun and fashion that this day traditionally provides, writes Jason Hall.

Claire Sheppard is the individual in charge of organising the Plumpton calendar, and she is looking forward to getting the campaign underway.

“We hope people will once again join us for a day of fun, fizz and fashion at Plumpton Ladies Day,” she said.

“We have plenty to keep everyone entertained all day; alongside the seven-race card we have fashion competitions – not only for the the best dressed lady, for which the first prize is a fabulous fully inclusive seven-night Medeterrainean cruise for two – but also for the best dressed man and child. We also have an Alfresco garden area which, as well as providing outdoor seating and tables to relax at, has a shopping village, a Heart Pamper Zone and live music and entertainers.”

It should be an enjoyable day out in the heart of the beautiful Sussex countryside. Children under 18 are given free entry and the gates open at 11.30am with the first race scheduled for 2pm.

I was also able to speak with clerk of the course Mark Cornford earlier this week and he is delighted with how the track and the course as a whole are shaping up for the start of a busy campaign: “Over the summer we completed the final stages of a three-year plan to improve the drainage on the track itself,” he said, “and I must say, I am very pleased with how things have gone.

“The watering programme that has been in place for this first meeting has been complemented by the rain we have seen, and at the moment I am expecting going conditions that are just on the fast side of good.

“The track has a lovely covering of lush grass. As well as the track being in great condition, the enclosures have all been spruced up with plenty of paint and the like and the whole place looks really well. I would be surprised if our regulars didn’t notice the amount of work that has been done.”

The feature event on the race card is a two-mile handicap hurdle, which looks very competitive and a difficult puzzle to solve. I think it is hard to say that any of the field are particularly well-handicapped at face value. There are a number of potential improvers that have either been lightly raced to this point or who are potentially facing a different test of their abilities which may or may not elicit some improvement from them.

The Jonjo O’Neill entrant Castlerock is just one of those types and he would face much more of a test of speed if he were to take up his option to race here. His rating suggests he can be competitive and the betting market on the day may be the best guide as to how connections rate his chances of improving for this new test.

Both January and Great Esteem have ability at this level but their attitude to the game cannot always be relied upon.

I will have to sidestep the race from a betting perspective but am looking forward to what promises to be an exciting spectacle. If I do decide to risk a few shillings on the day it will be on a big priced each way shot and Drummers Drumming, may fit the bill.