The 2009 Open Day dawned bright and warm and the good weather stayed with us for the whole day!
The 9am gallops and the 9.45am stalls test were very well attended, and a real credit to all the trainers and staff who supplied horses for both of these events. These took place on the Downs behind the racecourse and provided a unique opportunity to see racehorses at work.
From 10am – 1pm there were 8 yards open to the public:
From 12 noon the attractions taking place on the racecourse commenced and again proved to be a great crowd puller.
The events were:
-A hot shoeing demonstration by Steve Bates and his colleagues (horse kindly supplied by Glynis Riddle) – sponsored by NESCOT
-Pony rides and ‘dress up as a jockey’ (horses kindly supplied by Sandra’s Riding School) – sponsored by Connolly’s Red Mills
-Terrier Derby – sponsored by Omni Productions Ltd – which, as always, provided a raucous spectacle for all!
-Stunt Riding Display – sponsored by Ermyn Lodge Stud
-Horse-drawn fire engine and pump display
-Falconry display – sponsored by Friends of Tattenham Corner Stables
-Inter-yard Human Table Football Tournament – sponsored by Racing Welfare. Teams from 5 Epsom racing yards and a team of Epsom Racecourse Groundsmen competed in this, seeing who could score the most goals in 5 minutes. After a hard fought game the winners were Michael Attwater’s Tattenham Corner Stables’ team, with Roger Teal’s Thirty Acre Barn team the runners up.
-Parade of Retired Racehorses (horses supplied by the Ex-Racers Club, the Racehorse Sanctuary and Emma Curley) – sponsored by the Friends of Racing Welfare.
-Display by the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery – sponsored by David Lloyd Leisure, Epsom. We are very grateful to the Troop for attending and for their provision of an informative and interesting one-gun display, which culminated in some very loud gunfire!
-Jockeys vs Trainers Camel Racing – sponsored by AIS Fire & Security – a hysterically funny race comprising a jockeys’ heat, a trainers’ heat and a final race between the 1st and 2nd of each heat. The participants were:
Jockeys – Colin Bolger, Kieron Fox, Evan Lopez & Ian Mongan
Trainers – Michael Attwater, Les Montague-Hall, Pat Phelan and Roger Teal
All riders were dressed in authentic Arabian attire and a coin was tossed to ensure fairness of camel allocation. The final race was won by Roger Teal, with Les Montague-Hall second.
A big thank you to all the jockeys and trainers who took part.
-The ever popular Shetland Pony Derby – sponsored by Sunderlands Bookmakers. Holly Osbourne, aged 9 won the race riding TANGIES SOVEREIGN, sponsored by Mrs Alicia Aldis (who was also the sponsor of last year’s winner!)
Chris Lane, of Lane Bros kindly acted as the day’s official bookmaker, taking bets on both the camel and Shetland pony races.
As well as all these events there were also a large variety of tradestands housed in and around the Duchess’ Stand providing something of interest to everyone, a children’s funfair, bouncy castle, bucking bronco, and a mysterious bronze jockey statue that if you watched long enough you might have seen move
To finish off the day, the prize presentation and raffle draw took place in the Winner’s Enclosure and saw the winners of the Sunderlands Shetland Pony Derby, the Racing Welfare Inter-yard Human Table Football Tournament and the AIS Fire & Security Jockeys vs Trainers Camel Race presented with their prizes by the sponsors of each event and Don Churston, Chairman of the Epsom Training & Development Fund.
The 2009 Open Day was the biggest yet, and included many more attractions than at previous events. The Epsom Training & Development Fund will benefit greatly from the proceeds, enabling more investment to be made into the welfare of racing stable staff in Epsom. Work has already started on the 2010 event so watch this space…….!