Racing at Exeter on New Year’s Day

PUBLISHED: 14:00 30 December 2010

Don't Push It and Tony McCoy winning The John Smith's Grand National 
Pic Dan Abraham -

Don't Push It and Tony McCoy winning The John Smith's Grand National Pic Dan Abraham -


Exeter is set to begin 2011 in the best possible style with a fantastic seven-race programme on New Year’s Day, Saturday, January 1, 2011.

A spokesman from the course said: “After all the recent bad weather, we are delighted to be staging racing at Exeter. The freeze has really held up preparing the course so we made the decision last week to stage an all hurdle meeting. This meant we were able to get back on the track as soon as the last of the snow went earlier this week. We have a terrific entry and we are sure we are going to have some fantastic racing. It’s going to be a great way to start 2011.”

The most valuable race of the day is the class 2 Bathwick Tyres Handicap Hurdle, worth a total of £13,000.

Entries include Advisor who was brought down in the Gerry Fielden at Newbury but has since had his confidence restored win in a bumper at Southwell when he jut got up by a head.

David Pipe has entered Ashkazar, also in at Cheltenham. He ran well in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham’s international meeting and with the Pipe team in good order if he’s runs at Exeter he could make a good account of himself.

Other entries include the Charlie Longsdon-trained Songe and Nearby from Philip Hobbs stable.

Action gets underway at 12.40pm with the Thurlestone Hotel National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle. Trainer Donald McCain paid his first ever visit to Exeter at its Christmas meeting when the decent prospect Wymott won the novices’ chase. The trainer, who is based in Cheshire, could saddle another very decent prospect in the shape of Ballybriggs who concluded a run of three successes with a win at the Cheltenham Festival where he won the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase. He’s back over hurdles this time for his seasonal debut although he has mutiple entries at Cheltenham and Catterick.

Other very decent types include Charles Egerton’s unbeaten Carribs Leap who also has multiple entries and winning pointer Mr Hudson who scored his first success over hurdles at the course in November.

Staying hurdlers will be on show in the Billy Williams Memorial Novices’ Hurdle run over 2m7f.

Other races on the card include the Bathwick Tyres Plymouth Handicap Hurdle with Spanish Cruise making his debut for David Pipeand the Bathwick Tyres bumper with Glitzy D’Ocala sure to be popular in the betting – he won a bumper at Chepstow in April but was subsequently disqualified after a banned substance was found in his urine.

The first race is off at 12.40pm with the gates opening at 10.30pm. Children aged 17 and under race free and there’s a free bus to and from Exeter Racecourse from Exeter Bus Station and Exeter St Davids. A free course tour will take place before racing for anyone pre-booked to attend. Please call 01392 832599 to secure a place.

● Tony McCoy was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year, becoming the first jockey ever to win the award.

The NH jockey, who has won every major National Hunt race in the calendar, has been champion jockey for the last 15 seasons and, last year, capped his career by winning the Grand National on Don’t Push It.

McCoy, 36, said that he felt humbled to receive the award in front of so many other top sportsmen and women.

McCoy secured nearly 42 per cent of the votes, ahead of darts player Phil Taylor, and athlete Jessica Ennis.

Plymouth diver Ton Daley won the Young Sports Personality of the Year and David Beckham was presented with a lifetime achievement award at he prestigious event.

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