The popular Four Legged Friend Race Day returns to Warwick on Sunday with the course on a crest of a wave with attendances eclipsing pre-Covid levels, writes David Hucker.
The last meeting, Fiver Friday, saw a crowd of 3,695 – up from 2,169 on the corresponding fixture in 2019 – and followed Kingmaker Chase Day when more than 5,000 people flocked to the course.
“We have the same team in place who have been working on promoting Warwick as a venue and I think the fact we have gone exclusively National Hunt has only seen positive things for this track” said manager Andre Klein.
“It has also helped having successful trainers Dan Skelton and Olly Murphy on the doorstep of the course, which has boosted the profile of jump racing locally. The principal driver is that we work really hard to merge with the community and be part of the community in and around Warwick. The vast majority of the racegoers are strolling in on foot.”
Sunday's seven-race card gets underway at 1.35pm with the Pony Racing Authority Graduates Handicap Hurdle for conditional and amateur jockeys over two miles, with the most valuable race of the afternoon being the Class 3 Micky Boughey, Cobblers to 'Em All Handicap Hurdle over three and a quarter miles which carries a prize fund of £16,100.
Amongst the 13 entries for the feature is In Rem, who has rattled up five wins in a row since joining trainer Jane Williams, the last two having come at the course. His rating has gone up from 82 to 120 and, although he only had half a length to spare last time, he gave the impression that there was still some petrol left in the tank.
Dan Skelton has three entries in the Racing TV Profits Returned To Racing Novices' Hurdle and Galice Macalo, a course winner over hurdles, could get off the mark over fences in the EBF Mares' Novices' Chase over two and a half miles.
Three miles and five furlongs is the trip for the longest race of the afternoon, the Join Racing TV Now Handicap Chase, and last year's winner Volcano is amongst the entries again. He has not shown much form this season, however, and 13-year-old Dawson City, who stayed on well in Exeter's Devon National last time, and The Newest One, second behind One More Fleurie here in April, make more appeal.
Completing the card are the Watch On Racing TV Handicap Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs and the Visit racingtv.com Open National Hunt Flat Race.
FB Pocket Orchestra will be performing at the entrance to the racecourse and there will be a host of activities including a gundog display in the parade ring and the Pug Gold Cup.