Racing from Hereford on its most recent meeting in December 2012
PICTURE: Getty Images
By Keith Melrose 11:31AM 5 OCT 2016
TRAINERS have given a vote of confidence to Hereford returning to the jumps scene, with big-name yards and a few useful prospects among the 64 runners declared for the seven-race comeback meeting at the track on Thursday.
Philip Hobbs, David Pipe, Dan Skelton, Jonjo O’Neill and Nicky Henderson are among those with a runner in the opening novice hurdle, which, with 12 runners, supplies the joint-biggest field of the day. Henderson’s Rather Be, a smart bumper performer, is likely to be favourite.
Emerging trainers Fergal O’Brien and Harry Whittington are also running respective potential stable stars Colin’s Sister and Emerging Talent on the course’s comeback card, while champion trainer Paul Nicholls is reponsible for three of the 64 runners.
The future looked bleak for Hereford in 2012 when the track closed following a dispute between Arena Racing Company and landlords Herefordshire Council. That schism remains to be resolved, but ARC have re-opened the course to show “our commitment to racing.”
‘It’s going to be fantastic’
Clerk of the course Charlie Moore said: “We all feared for its future so well done to Arc for bringing it back to life. There is a great turnout of horses for tomorrow and it’s all systems go.
“A lot of hard work has gone into this and hopefully tomorrow everyone will see it’s all been worthwhile. We’ve got brand new fences, all the hurdles have been refurbished and the grass cover is fantastic.”
Conditions are set to be reflective of the recent dry weather, as Moore added: “We watered the track last night and we’ve got good ground today. There’s no rain forecast, which is great for the crowd. It’s going to be fantastic.”