There were packed stands and an electric atmosphere at Plumpton’s Bob Champion Cancer Trust Race Day, writes Charlie Day.

A charity lunch, raffle and silent auction which all took place before the racing, were the key components to a day of important fundraising. Also prior to racing there was a Shetland Pony race. Owned and trained by Mrs M Shepherd, Bob’s Big Bentley was too classy for them, prevailing under a brilliant ride from Myla Coppins.

A thoroughly entertaining day of racing was capped off by a record-breaking amount of fundraising. More than £50,000 was raised for the Bob Champion Cancer Trust, breaking all previous amounts raised at the meeting and will go towards helping those living with cancer. A huge hats off to everyone that took part.

The opening race, the Trottenden Sussex Cattle Novices’ Hurdle saw odds-on favourite Western Soldier record a facile success for Milton Harris and Johnny Burke for owners Kenyon, Allen and Romans. Talented on the flat in his previous career in Germany, the entire won on just his second start over obstacles. Leading throughout, he pushed on two hurdles from home and was unchallenged from then on in, winning by 7 lengths.

The second race saw another commanding winner. Jockey Tom Cannon guided Kadex to victory for trainer Lucy Wadham in the Southern Cranes and Access Ltd Novices’ Handicap Chase. Sitting just off the pace in a steadily run affair, horse and jockey were in a perfect position to pounce when the race turned into somewhat of a sprint turning for home. Kadex quickly asserted his dominance over the field and won with something to spare by 3¾ lengths. Owners The Sanguiners, Mrs G Redman and B Paint will be plotting where to go next after such an impressive win.

Following that race was the Summertree Novices’ Handicap Hurdle. The short-priced favourite, King Otis, was heavily gambled on and duly obliged by an emphatic 8 lengths for trainer James Owen, jockey Lily Pinchin and owners The Think Big Partnership. Taking the lead as soon as the tapes went back and staying in front the whole way, King Otis upped the tempo turning into the straight, soon leaving his rivals toiling in his wake. It was a very confident ride from Lily Pinchin, who is an up-and-coming jockey starting to establish herself more markedly on the National Hunt stage.

Then came the feature race, the Nick Embiricos Memorial Handicap Chase which went to owners Dick and Mandy Higgins. Their horse, the Dan Skelton trained 15/8 favourite, Sacre Coeur, dominated, leading for the duration of the race and ultimately proving too strong for her rivals. The seven-year-old mare was given an enterprising ride by talented young claimer Fergus Gillard. Although a mention must also go to the second placed horse, Deeper Blue, who made an eye-catching seasonal debut, staying on resolutely from the rear of the field to finish within 1 length of the winner.

After the feature, father and son team Chris and Freddie Gordon were victorious in the Bet Goodwin Handicap Hurdle with Small Bad Bob for owners John H W Finch and Rockbourne Partnership. The win gave trainer Chris his second winner of the season at Plumpton. Jockey Freddie held the horse in a prominent position throughout, taking the lead three from home and kicking on up the run-in to register a cosy success of 3¾ lengths.

In the penultimate contest the spoils went back to Wales. Llancarfan based trainer Evan Williams winning the Back British Farming Handicap Chase with 13/8 favourite Idealko. Owned by Mr R E R Williams, the son of Cokoriko had won only 8 days previously at Ffos Las and was carrying a 7-pound penalty but that didn’t stop him. He wore down his rivals, using his exemplary staying power to devastating effect in the home straight. His pilot, Adam Wedge gave him an expert ride, the pair won by 4½ lengths.

In the last race, the SIS and Josh Gifford Memorial Mares’ Handicap Hurdle, Stamina Chope lived up to her name. At the back of the field for the majority of the race, she picked off her rivals one by one, before surging up the home straight to record a 3¼ length win. It was a cool ride from jockey Lee Edwards for trainer Dave Roberts and owner Mr Douglas Bradbury.

It is clear to see that the East Sussex track continues to be thoroughly embedded at the heart of the community. What is also apparent is that it is committed to supporting not only the racing industry but also good causes whenever it can.

Plumpton’s next race day will be on November 6 – The Southern Cranes Race Day. For tickets visit: