TAUNTON Racecourse began their season in style last Wednesday (November 1) with a seven-race card, writes Richard Walsh.

There was a distinctly local feel to the winners of the first two races at Taunton last week when a large crowd enjoyed an exciting afternoon of racing action.

Stuart Kittow, who trains up on the Blackdown Hills, claimed the first when Midnight Gypsy won the opening race of the season.

Ridden by Alexander Thorn the seven year old who started at 14-1 won by two and a half lengths to give the large Taunton crowd a great start to their season.

Third place was taken by Polo The Mumm, who was ridden by former King’s College pupil Hannah Welch, making a comeback after sustaining a broken ankle in a Point to Point race at Holnicote on May 13.

The second race was won by Challico - ridden by Harry Cobden, trained by Paul Nicholls and owned by Mr and Mrs Bill Tinknell, who live close to Taunton Racecourse and also bred the five-year-old who started at 8-11 favourite.

The big race of the day, the Confined Handicap Hurdle - worth over £8.5k to the winners - at 3.20 was won by Barman, a 3-1 shot from the Nicky Henderson yard ridden by Nico de Boinville.

Local racegoers can expect another good day’s action when Taunton host their next meeting on Thursday, November 16 when the seven race card that gets underway at 1.05 has a very generous £55,000 up for grabs in prize money.