We started 2024 in fine style with 78 runners competing over a seven race card, writes Martin Higgs.

First up was the Farmers Friend Novices’ Hurdle and a thrilling race won by Golden Ace who is trained by Jeremy Scott at Brompton Regis. The mare was returning from a 270 day absence and she’s one to follow for the rest of the season.

This was followed by the Blackdown Motor Company Maiden Hurdle and, due to it’s popularity, the race was split into two divisions. Joyeuse claimed the first, she was purchased from France in November 2022 for 235,000 euros and is a half-sister to Champion Hurdle winner Epatante. The latter division went to Wales with The Gypsy Davey, it was a dominant display from the front by jockey Adam Wedge on this Evan Williams trained Point to Point winner who will surely have no problem racing over further.

Keep Running lived up to his name and was never headed under James Bowen in the Major Denis Burton Royal Welsh Memorial Chase. It secured a double on the day for the jockey who is in great form and well worth following currently.

Our feature race of the afternoon was the Stables Business Park Hurdle and it was time for the Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden team to enter the fray with Inca De Lafayette. This lovely grey runs in the Owners Group colours and secured victory over this longer distance in fine style.

We then held the well-supported Geoffrey Bosley ‘Tally Ho’ Hunters’ Chase and a high quality field of 11 went to post. The mare Regatta De Blanc returned home first under Will Biddick on her rules debut. She is only 6 and will have learned a lot from this, she can only improve and looks one to follow in this sphere.

It was ‘Groundhog Day’ in the last race of the day as Sawpit Sienna ran on strongly to replicate her success in the samerace last year. A note to self was made for next year as she clearly loves Taunton, a hat-trick would be some achievement and maybe a challenge trainer Sam Drinkwater may not be able to resist.

The track continues to be in great shape thanks to our hard-working ground staff and this is being rewarded by excellent field numbers creating competitive racing. Why not spend a Saturday afternoon with us on the 20thJanuary, early bird discounted tickets are available on our website..www.tauntonracecourse.co.uk