Exeter Chiefs go racing at Exeter

Grand National runner Chicago Grey

Grand National runner Chicago Grey - Credit: Archant

Rugby comes to the races at Exeter Racecourse next Tuesday (April 30) with its first evening meeting of the season staged in conjunction with the Exeter Chiefs.

The Chiefs’ long serving hooker, Neil Clark, has made over 150 appearances for the club and he’s been honoured with a testimonial year.

As part of the year-long activities being held in his honour, he’ll be at the racecourse along with his team mates including captain Tom Hayes, New Zealand Maori Hoani Tui, full back Luke Arscott and Wales international Craig Mitchell.

Racing kicks off at 5.35pm with the Neil Clark Testimonial Handicap Hurdle and the player said: “It’s amazing to have a race named after me and fantastic that we are part of the evening. I cannot thank Exeter enough.

“There will be quite a lot of us coming along, but we still have a match to go, five days later, so we’ll be having a few, but not too many.”

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That match could be the decider of whether the club again qualifies for prestigious Heineken Cup rugby, a feat they achieved for the first time last season.

Clark admits that since teaming up with the racecourse he’s become a huge racing fan and says it would be great to emulate fellow rugby union players Mike Tindall, James Simpson-Daniel and Nicky Robinson and have a horse like Moonbeg Dude, winner of this year’s Welsh National. “That would be great, but it’s just a dream,” he said.

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And although this is his testimonial year, Clark reckons he has about another five seasons left in him, depending how his body holds up.

Six races make up the card and throughout the evening players will be on course for autographs. “It’s all part of the evening and we’re all really looking forward to mingling with everyone and enjoy our night at the race,” he said.

With a selection of Otter Ales available throughout the night, anyone who likes racing, rugby and beer is in for a treat.

A free bus is available from Exeter St David’s at 4pm and Exeter Bus and Coach Station at 4.15pm, returning half an hour after the last race. Children aged 17 and under race free.

To book tickets in advance call 0844 793005 or visit www.exeter-racecourse.co.uk

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