West End Rocker aiming to show age is no barrier

After the abandonment of Warwick’s New Year’s Eve meeting, the course turns its attention to the biggest raceday of the year next Saturday when the valuable Betfred Classic Chase tops the bill, writes David Hucker.

Shotgun Paddy on his way to victory at Warwick Racecourse last year. Picture: PA
Shotgun Paddy on his way to victory at Warwick Racecourse last year. Picture: PA

Last year, Shotgun Paddy showed himself to be a rising star among staying chasers when denying the veteran Carruthers, winner of the 2011 Hennessy Gold Cup. Shotgun Paddy went on to finish runner-up to Midnight Prayer in Cheltenham’s National Hunt Chase.

This year’s contest is the target of 2011 winner West End Rocker and Alan King’s 13-year-old showed he is no back number when winning a veterans’ race at Lingfield recently.

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He ran off a handicap rating of 135 there, just 2lb above his Warwick winning mark and, having reached a high of 149 at his peak, could still run well despite facing a host of younger rivals.

The Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (Registered As The Leamington Novices’ Hurdle) is the main supporting race and last year’s contest went to the progressive Deputy Dan, who was notching his fourth success when proving too strong for Masters Hill.

Newcomers to racing have the chance to gain an expert insight into the sport with a special deal that will include a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour featuring a top jockey and trainer competing at the fixture.

The Newcomers Package, which is available in advance at £60 for adults and £35 for children, aged five to 17, includes a private box and two-course hot buffet as well as the hosted guide and tour.

The course is also offering a Super Saturday Ticket in advance with combined entry to both the Betfred Classic Chase Day and the Gentlemen’s Kingmaker Chase Day on Saturday February 7 for just £30.

General manager Huw Williams said: “There couldn’t be a better way to get jump racing under way at Warwick in 2015 than with these two quality racedays and so the Super Saturday Ticket should be a real hit with racegoers.

“For novices to the sport, our newcomers experience during the Betfred Classic Chase Day is an amazing opportunity to learn more about horse racing and get as close to the action as is possible.”

Racing gets under way at 12.45pm with the last race run at 4.05pm.