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Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

ITV's Cumani eclipses Moore and co by winning showjumping contest

Francesca Cumani on her way to victory in the showjumping event
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Numbers may have been down but people still came from as far as Dublin to the 32Red-sponsored Newmarket Open Day on Sunday, where the annual entertainment included a surprise glimpse of Ryan Moore riding over jumps.

Moore was a last-minute entry in the Clipper Logistics Racing Personality showjumping, which was almost as competitive as the previous day's St Leger, with fellow riders James Doyle, Adam Kirby and Frankie Dettori in the line-up.

Ultimately four faults meant Moore finished out of the frame in fourth behind impressive first-timer winner Francesca Cumani, with Roger Varian an honourable second and Jennie Simcock, wife of trainer David, third.

Before the afternoon entertainment got into full swing, the morning kicked off with an organised canter on Warren Hill, viewing of which was hampered by mist.

Those who did turn out for an 8am start were rewarded with a glimpse of Group 1-winning stars Enable, Marsha and Ulysses, as well as John Gosden's other Arc possible Cracksman.

As well as fans from elsewhere, many locals turned out to watch the action for the first time, including butcher Paul Bacon (his real name!).

He said: "I live only over the road but never get to see the horses much as I'm always working. Sunday's my day off so I thought I'd come along and see Cracksman, who I backed for the Derby. He looked fantastic and must have a great chance if he runs in the Arc."

After the gallops action there were lots more horses to see around the 18 yards that were open. The biggest draw was Godolphin's state-of-the-art operation at Moulton Paddocks, which was open to the public for just the second time.

Trainer Charlie Appleby and jockey James Doyle resembled the 'meet the characters' location at Disneyworld in front of a massive Godolphin sign at the entrance, where the pair posed for endless pictures and signed merchandise for at least two hours.

Appleby said: "I think we're busier than the last time we opened two years ago, and it's great to see the interest that people have in Godolphin."

Among those spotted looking around the 110-box main yard was fellow trainer Marco Botti, who said: "I've always wanted to come here and I can't believe the scale of it. Perhaps I'll get a selfie with Charlie later!"

Barry Murphy from Dublin was blown away by the surroundings and horses, which included Group 1 winner Sobetsu as well as promising youngsters Masar and Glorious Journey.

He said: "I've been around some stables in my time but this is incredible. There must be well over 100 horses here."

Smaller operators were also busy, with Amy Murphy flying the flag at Hamilton Stables, where the most popular exhibit wasn't even one of her 32 racehorses.

She said: "We've had over 100 in I'd say and most pictures have been taken with our Shetland Pony Rita, who keeps Thaqaffa company in his box."  

Charlie Fellowes also had a steady flow of visitors and stressed the importance of the day.

"Racing isn't bursting with money and we need the exposure," he said. "If this increases people's interest and if a few take a share in a horse because of it, then it's job done as far as I'm concerned."

Organiser Stephen Wallis said: "There's no argument that numbers have been down but there were still 1,000-plus at Godolphin and the food and drink festival has proved a big hit.

"I think the shortfall is down to both the weather and the fact the Malton open day is also on today, which has taken away some of our potential northern visitors."

If this increases people's interest and a few take a share in a horse because of it then its job done as far as I'm concerned
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