HORSE RACING: Tale of two Scots as autumn jumps season begins at Huntingdon

Top Flat trainer Mark Johnston has a rare runner at Huntingdon.
Top Flat trainer Mark Johnston has a rare runner at Huntingdon.
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Visitors to Huntingdon Racecourse on Thursday (October 5) for the opening fixture of the autumn could be in for an unusual sight.

Flat racing fans at Newmarket are very familiar with Mark Johnston-trained horses, but not so those at the Cambridgeshire jumps track.

Dan Skelton (right) has six entries at Huntingdon on Thursday.

Dan Skelton (right) has six entries at Huntingdon on Thursday.

The Yorkshire-based Scot runs one of the biggest and most successful training operations in Britain. However, he has only ever had a handful of runners over jumps, and just three at Huntingdon in the last 30 years, so Geophony in the first race, the 32Red Juvenile Hurdle, will turn a few eyes.

Scotland could be a theme in that opening contest because Keith Dalgleish, who trains north of the border, enters Eneko. He’s never had a runner at Huntingdon Racecourse before.

Much more usual are horses from Britain’s current top jumps trainer Dan Skelton who has made six entries for the races which begin at 2pm.

There are no certainties in the first six races on Thursday, but there is one in the last – the 32Red-sponsored ‘bumper’, a race on the flat for jumps horses. For none of the 13 entries has ever been on a racecourse before, so one horse will leave Huntingdon that evening with a 100% record!

Thursday’s meetimng is the first of two midweek ‘Go Racing’ meetings during the month – the second is on Tuesday 17th – with adult tickets at £10 in advance and restaurant options available too.

During these midweek fixtures, which make up more than half of the 18-meeting calendar during 2017, everyone can enjoy the best that’s on offer at the racecourse for a very affordable cost – a third less than the regular admission price.

Further information is available online at http://huntingdon.thejockeyclub.co.uk where tickets can be purchased or on 0844 579 3007.

On all racing days, accompanied children aged 17 years and under are admitted free of charge. Young adults, aged 18 to 24 years, can get half-price admission by registering at RacePass18to24.co.uk to receive a free RacePass membership card. Senior citizens can obtain discounted admission by joining The Diamond Club, with details available online.