TAUNTON will stage their first race meeting of the season on Thursday, November 16.  The inclement weather has been perfect for the track and we are expecting to be racing on ideal ground, writes Martin Higgs.

Proceedings commence at 12.40 and, as in previous seasons, there is a courtesy coach service departing from outside platform 5 of Taunton Railway Station 90 minutes before our first race time and returning from the course half an hour after the start of the last.

Early Bird ticket prices (with a minimum £5 discount) are available for all of the above at www.tauntonracecourse.co.uk so why not put the dates in your diary and come down to Orchard Portman for an afternoon at the races.

The card has four Hurdle races and two Chases and with our location and decent ground, it looks ‘odds on’ we will have plenty of high quality entries in the Novice and Maiden Hurdles.  Strength in depth is assured, providing the avid racing enthusiast horses to follow throughout the season.

Rubaud (pictured), who won in a canter at our first meeting of last season, has gone on to win a further 4 races including the Scottish Champion Hurdle.

It pays to follow those who do well at the track, in particular Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden who have a 31% and 37% strike rate respectively.  

Victor Dartnell and Alan Johns excelled when venturing to Somerset last season and Welsh Grand National winning trainer Nicky Martin holds a 40% strike rate which includes a win, with Inspiratrice and Sean Bowen, last season at 200/1, wouldn’t we all like one of them?

The National Hunt season started in earnest with the Jumps Season Opener at Chepstow four weeks ago.  It is a meeting well supported by our West Country trainers and Paul Nicholls took the Grade 2 Persian War with Captain Teague, a lovely horse who will surely go on to figure at the top meetings this season, he’s one for your notebook.

We have also enjoyed Cheltenham’s first meeting of the season and last weekend witnessed some fantastic racing at Wetherby and Ascot with previous Taunton winner Boothill taking the feature race at the latter for Harry Fry.

As usual the West Country battalion of trainers have some high quality horses in their ranks and will continue to represent the region at all of the premier fixtures.  We will look to highlight these in our column and provide you with some horses to follow over the coming weeks and months.

There is so much to look forward to at the track in 2023, with further meetings scheduled for Thursday 30th November, Thursday 14th December and our flagship 30th December fixture.