Two wheels instead of four legs as Tour hits Newmarket
Pedal power rather than horsepower will take centre stage in Newmarket on Friday when the sixth stage of the Tour of Britain cycle departs from outside the historic Jockey Club on the High Street.
Up to 8,000 spectators are expected to watch the OVO Energy-sponsored event set off on the 114-mile stage to the Suffolk coastal town of Aldeburgh, while viewers will be able to follow the action live on ITV4.
The local racing fraternity are set to be involved as the stage will be preceded by a 50-strong community ride, including a team of jockeys wearing silks as they pedal past the gallops on the Bury side of town.
Jill Korwin, director of Forest Heath District Council, says: "Newmarket is one of Suffolk’s defining towns and we're thrilled stage six of the Tour of Britain will be starting here.
"The race is a perfect saddle-to-saddle match for the international home of horseracing, as both present elite levels of sporting achievement. We expect to have a team of jockeys in the community race but we're awaiting confirmations."
The 20 teams in the Tour of Britain, race officials and entourage of vehicles will line up behind a gantry and stage located outside the Jockey Club, from where the riders will be presented to the crowd.
Andy Drummond, mayor of Newmarket and Forest Heath cabinet member for leisure and culture, says: "As the international home of horseracing we're used to hosting great sporting occasions, but this race has a special quality.
"Cycling is a really inclusive, social activity, and while the professionals achieve unbelievable performances, outside the race they are approachable and great ambassadors for the sport.
"I'm proud the Tour has returned to our part of the world and I'm sure we'll give them a welcome they’ll remember."
Aussie Elliott wants to teach the world to sing
The great and the good from across the world of racing were at York for the Ebor meeting, among them the first female chair of the Victoria Racing Club, Amanda Elliott.
It was the latest in a number of trips to Britain this year for Elliott, although she was not drumming up challengers for the Melbourne Cup.
Instead she was looking to build international relationships and push the idea of global cooperation between racing jurisdictions.
She says: "We're terribly lucky with Flemington, its brand and the Melbourne Cup, but I want the world to be singing from the same hymn sheet.
"I want everybody to understand the opportunities that exist for racing, which I don't think have been thought about enough.
"Everyone is so focused on a lot of negativity and the challenges, which absolutely have to be addressed, but they are not the main story.
"Every business has challenges but if you focus solely on those you actually miss the opportunities. When you think about racing as a sport there are so many touch points that other sports don't have the advantage of, and we should be celebrating those."
Flemington is building a new grandstand, which Elliott hopes will make the most of those advantages to boost attendances.
She adds: "We want people to look at racing as a sport that addresses all the stuff they want out of their leisure time, their social life.
"The more people spend on their screens and devices, the more racing can step into what is clearly missing – social interaction. Racing is the perfect vehicle for that."
Elliott is a fan of British racing, explaining: "British racing, in terms of the quality of horses, is the best in the world. The wonderful prestige that goes with winning the British Classics is something you can't transplant. It's here and that's an enormous advantage.
"We have the Melbourne Cup. That's an enormous advantage to us because the entire nation buys into the Melbourne Cup."
>>Congratulations to Vanessa Ryall, who last weekend achieved the notable distinction of becoming a winning female rider of her nation’s Derby, partnering High As A Kite to victory in Norway. It is a rare feat, but not unique, with Racing Post historian John Randall estimating there could be in the region of 30 or so such examples worldwide.
>>DJ and TV personality Vernon Kay has been lined up to host an after-racing party at Newmarket on Saturday, October 14 – Cesarewitch and Dewhurst day.
Repeat winners at Jog for Jockeys
The seventh renewal of Jog for Jockeys’ 5km and 10km charity fundraiser, in aid of Irish Injured Jockeys, took place at Naas last Sunday and both 2016 winners successfully followed up.
Ex-rider Kevin Coleman was again first past the post in the 5km run, closely followed by jockey Keith Donoghue, while in the 10km heat Patrick O’Connor from Lisselton, County Kerry defended his title, with former jockey and Turf Club official Pat Malone in second.
Michelle Cox from Newbridge AC was the first woman to cross the 5km line, with Katie Young from Gordon Elliott’s yard in second, while Elaine O’Donovan, head girl for Eoin Griffin and winner of the Horse Care Award at the 2017 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards, was the first woman home in the 10km race.
Competitors also included champion amateur jump jockey Jamie Codd and his wife Robyn, along with their daughter Lottie, Turf Club senior steward Meta Osborne and her husband Dermot Cantillon, jockeys Mick Hussey and Shane Foley, and trainer Dick Brabazon.
IIJ chairman Ruby Walsh was the official race starter and cheered on his wife Gillian and daughter Isabelle, who both took part in the 5km race.
IIJ general manager Michael Higgins says: “I want to say a massive thank you to all the runners and volunteers who turned up to support Jog for Jockeys on Sunday.
“It wouldn’t have happened without them all. There was a great atmosphere and it was great to see so much competition between all the runners. Donations can still be made at irishinjuredjockeys.com.”