Meeting Kauto Star
PUBLISHED: 16:00 14 October 2008 | UPDATED: 22:27 15 June 2010
Copyright Archant Ltd
WINCANTON Racecourse s first race meeting of the new season got off to a flying start with managing director Steven Clarke confirming prize money had been increased to £1.2million.
WINCANTON Racecourse's first race meeting of the new season got off to a flying start with managing director Steven Clarke confirming prize money had been increased to £1.2million for the new season to the gathered media who were treated to a parade of champion trainer Paul Nicholls' horses before racing.Despite the gloom in the financial markets, Wincanton is bucking the trend, pledging further investment into prize money to ensure racing at the Somerset track remains of the highest calibre. Clarke, who was appointed MD at Wincanton in January 2006, said: "We are very lucky to have some of the country's top trainers right on our doorstep, including Paul Nicholls, David Pipe and Philip Hobbs which ensures we get really competitive and quality racing here. We are delighted to support owners and trainers with an increase in the prize money offered."Nicholls, who trains just 11 miles from the racecourse, said: "We've been involved with this press day for many years and it's great to work closely with and support Wincanton whose start of the season very much ties in with ours. The terrific prize money is an added incentive and we are looking forward to running some nice horses there and to a season which, I hope, will be as successful as the last one."Among the horses on show was Denman and Nicholls said the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner is on course to start his campaign after Christmas.He also revealed he has a powerful team of novice chasers including Kicks For Free, The Tother One and Nakai and the trainer predicted the sensational Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Master Minded could be better than ever this season.Wincanton, winner of the Race goers Club best small course in the South West Award in 2007 and was also the first course to be awarded the Gold Standard Award by the Racehorse Owners Association, is the premier jump racing track in the south-west region with four of its 17 meetings televised on a Saturday. Its races include February's Kingwell Hurdle, won last year by Katchit who went on to victory in the Champion Hurdle at the Champion Festival. Other big race days include Badger Ales Chase Day and Connaught Cup Day while Ladies' Day , Countryside Day and Children's Day also draw in the crowds.Wincanton will again run its trainers' championship, won last year by Philip Hobbs, and it has combined forces with Exeter Racecourse, for whom Clarke became MD in 2007, to offer a new Racehorse of the Year award, sponsored by Plymouth-based Coad Wine Cellars. Members are also offered a £3 discount if they visit Exeter.Clarke said: "We are really looking forward to the next few months. Last season was memorable for many reasons; not least the Denman and Kauto Star duel. It really put National Hunt racing on the map and it's an exciting time for jump racing.
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