For many jump racing fans, last weekend truly signalled the start of the season with the Cheltenham Open Meeting commencing on Friday.
In the first two races on the opening day the winning jockeys enjoyed first Cheltenham winners; amateur Mickey Legg, aboard Handy Andy, and Mark Quinlan, who steered Anay Turge to triumph for Nigel Hawke.
It was then the turn of Oscar Whisky, a high-class staying hurdler, to run over fences for the first time. However, he was beaten - and just like so many before him - by AP McCoy.
The Champion Jockey was aboard Taquin Du Seuil who had plenty of doubters before the race, mainly due to the good ground conditions.
Balthazar King won the Cross Country Chase for Richard Johnson and Phillip Hobbs after an electric round of jumping, before Ruby Walsh saw success on his first ride in Britain for seven months, piloting Quick Jack to win the closing handicap hurdle for Tony Martin.
It was the first of nine winners for Ruby over the weekend, with a treble on Saturday and a five-timer, the first of his career, on Sunday (both at Punchestown).
His retained trainer Willie Mullins enjoyed ten winners over the weekend, including reigning Supreme Novices Hurdle hero Champagne Fever and Hurricane Fly, who broke the world record for winning the most Grade Ones in history; a grand total of 17 after taking the Morgiana Hurdle on Sunday.
Back at Cheltenham, and Saturday’s Paddy Power Gold Cup went to John’s Spirit and the ultra-cool Richie McLernon, who came from last to first, before fighting off Colour Squadron up the hill.
Sunday was the David Pipe show, with the Pond House team securing four winners on the card, including Home Run under Kieron Edgar and the very exciting The Liquidator.
The feature race of the day, the Greatwood Hurdle, went to £280,000 purchase Dell’Arca, ridden by Tom Scudamore, who landed a double on the day.
Red Sherlock took the closing bumper for Timmy Murphy in the colours of the late David Johnson; a fitting winner for an owner synonymous with the Pipe team and Cheltenham.
Doncaster’s National Hunt season kicks off on November 29, before we head into a duo of Christmas Fixtures. Our New Year’s raceday, Sunday 29 December, is the third meeting back over the jumps during the festive period.
The raceday is always one of the most popular National Hunt racing fixtures we host during the season, attracting guests from all over the country to enjoy some festive fun during the holidays.
Town Moor is the perfect place to celebrate the New Year with a bang!