And so here it is, the end of my first season here at Plumpton and one that created many memorable moments for me, but hopefully for you as well. That said, my absolute favourite was still seeing Josh Moore getting clapped into the weighing room when leaving the parade ring after his brilliant winning ride on Leo Luna here on the 29th January. It was completely spontaneous and showcased to me the knowledgeable crowd we have here at Plumpton, but also gave some recognition that was absolutely deserved in what wasn’t a feature day or race, it was brilliant. We Brits also love to talk about the weather don’t we, and so why should this blog be any different?! I’ll concede that I do check my weather apps on my phone more than any other!
Despite a glorious finish on the 13th May, with predominantly good ground in lovely weather, it has been a tough year and I think we have coped admirably in the circumstances only losing two fixtures when it could have easily been a few more. If it wasn’t a -10 wind chill, it was the snow and if it wasn’t the snow, it was the incessant rain (we had over 400mm before our May fixture) so we hope to get a better run at things in the future, especially around our ever important Easter Fixtures which now feature two £50k races.
A question I also get asked a lot is “What do you do in the summer, put your feet up?” or similar and I can assure you all that we absolutely do not do that! There is a great amount of work to be done on the track (drainage work, re-building fences, seeding, verti-draining, making hurdles), in the buildings (maintenance, painting & decorating, pictures, improvements) and from the office team marketing (including brochures, social media, 2018-19 strategy, posters, entertainment, analysis, re-bookings, sales, networking, events) as well as looking at all the changes that are currently being instigated in racing (E.g. Brit Bet replacing the Tote on site). Whilst we may not have the same deadlines as in the season, there is just as much to do whilst there is a little more time.
So, it’s been a testing season, but one we have still enjoyed and one where we did manage to see some really smart performers on track namely Benatar for the Moore team, who won a novice chase here in November before coming 3rd at the Cheltenham Festival, Vado Forte who won the Sussex Champion Hurdle in fine style for Tom Lacey and Robbie Dunne and the same team combined with Jester Jet who won here decisively in December before going on to land a grade 3 at the Aintree Festival. I also was particularly taken by Baddesley Knight, trained by Chris Gordon, who won here on the 15th April and is definitely one to keep your eye on for the 2018/19 season.
We will be looking to do plenty in the summer and there will be some changes to the customer experience for next season, and so we’ll keep you updated on these in due course. Thank you for supporting us this season and for reading this column, and until September and the new season, have a great summer!