Exeter Racecourse’s famous racing Clydesdales provided a magnificent spectacle on Sunday when their flying feathers and huge white faces had an enthusiast crowd enthralled as they raced in aid of the Devon Air Ambulance.
Solo, Siryl Allan, Frankie Doodle, Midge and Tom Parker were ridden by professional jockeys Noel Fehily, Aiden Coleman, Daryl Jacob, Sean Bowen, Tom Bellamy and James Best who urged them down the two-furlong stretch in front of their appreciative audience.
Midge, last year’s winner, was sent off the evens favourite and with a flying start under Noel Fehily came home the two and a quarters of a length winner, from the challenging Frankie Doodle and Siryl.
With rapturous applause from the crowd Midge’s jockey lived up to the occasion, giving a salutary wave as he crossed the winning line.
“It’s a great cause, a good bit of fun and it’s great for the people that brought their horses here – well done to them,” said Fehily.
Raceday sponsor Bathwick Tyres have supported the race since its inception four years ago by becoming Clydesdale owners for the day and it was their famous red and gold colours that were worn by the winning partnership.
Wayne Clifford, owner of Bathwick Tyres, said: “It is such a super initiative and all for a very good cause. It was great to see our colours come home in front. Well done to the jockeys for riding them and to Tim and Aileen Ware for providing such a magnificent spectacle.”
The gentle giants are owned by Tim Ancrum and Aileen Ware of Adventure Clydesdales, a trekking centre based at Brimpts on Dartmoor. “It’s a wonderful day and a fantastic opportunity to show off these wonderful animals who love their opportunity to demonstrate their agility and speed. They are fantastic animals to ride and make wonderful conveyances across the moor,” said Tim.
Over £3000 was raised in aid of the Devon Air Ambulance with bookies Jack Bevan and Dick Oliver taking bets and people donating money to the charity to become owners for the day.
The racecourse’s general manager Dan Thompson said: “We’re so grateful to Tim and Aileen for bringing their horses, to the jockeys for riding them and to everyone who placed a bet, every penny of which was donated to the Devon Air Ambulance. Devon Day is growing every year and it’s a fantastic opportunity to celebrate all that is so good about our lovely county.”
Exeter next races on Friday, December 2 when pre-booked Grandstand and Paddock ticket are available for just £5 each for groups of ten or more. Visitwww.exeter-racecourse.co.uk.