TAUNTON Racecourse started the season in style last Thursday, with over 80 runners spread across the seven race card, writes Martin Higgs.

Lady Gwen was a convincing first winner of our season for the Kim Bailey team.  This was followed by a double for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden with Matterhorn (pictured) and Panjari, both leading from the start with the former very impressive and he looks one to follow for the rest of the season.  

You can’t beat a trainer in form and Venetia Williams is certainly currently ticking that box with her charge, Heros, winning the Colin Crawley Mad As A Hatter Chase.

The next race was the Age UK Somerset 75th Anniversary Maiden Hurdle with Canty Bay winning by 10 lengths at 9/4.  He was one for those who follow the markets as he was available at 14/1 the evening before.  There was a good representation from Wales and they got on the board with the Grace Harris trained Justshortofabubble who was given a very confident ride from Ben Jones, who is riding at the top of his game.  

Finally, if you like to follow in form horses and trainers then the last winner Isabella Bee would have been your choice - she was completing a hat-trick of wins and her trainer Fergal O’Brien is on course for his best ever season with over 60 winners already.  With the weather clearing and the crowd buoyant it was an excellent day all round.

Taunton next race on Thursday, November 30, with the first race at 12:50.

If you are interested in coming along please have a look on our website www.taunton-racecourse.co.uk to save at least £5 per ticket on our early bird ticket offers.

Last weekend the 3-day Cheltenham November meeting took place.  The Paul Nicholls trained, Harry Cobden ridden, Stage Star was hugely impressive when winning the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

Jonbon showed how good he is when taking the Shloer Chase in commanding fashion and Nicky Henderson completed a double on the day by winning the Unibet Greatwood Hurdle with the well-handicapped Iberico Lord.

Possibly the unluckiest horse of the 3 days was the Joe Tizzard trained JPR One, who was powering clear in the Arkle trial only to fall at the last fence. 

The dual Taunton winner is without doubt one of the top 2 mile Chasers this side of the Irish sea, however come Cheltenham he will surely face stiffer competition from the Emerald Isle.  

In the meantime, he could win some well-earned prize money starting off potentially at Sandown in 3 weeks time, he’s certainly one to follow.