Racing Clydesdales and dashing Dartmoors take centre stage at Exeter
Tom Parker, who won last year’s inaugural race for Clydesdales at Exeter Racecourse, will be reunited with his jockey Micheal Nolan on Sunday (Nov 23) at the racecourse’s annual Devon Day as they bid to repeat last year’s win.
Nolan, who is based with Minehead trainer Philip Hobbs, said: “It was absolutely brilliant last year and all the jockeys who took part felt privileged to do so. I can’t wait to be back on Tom Parker again and hopefully we’ll retain our crown.”
Seven horses will be taking part in the race which is staged at the racecourse to highlight the breed which is regarded as ‘at risk’ by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and to illustrate their versatility.
The horses belong to Tim Ancrum of Adventure Clydesdales, which specialises in providing riding holidays across Dartmoor.
He said: “Last year’s race was wonderful and so many people enjoyed it. We’ll be racing them over two furlongs again, and we hope they will provide a thrill for racegoers.
“They won't do what a racehorse will do, but then a racehorse won't do what a Clydesdale can do.
"I would say that they will do 18-20mph when they are really going. It's like a Range Rover sport, compared to a Ferrari."
Also taking place for the first ever time is a race for ponies bred on Dartmoor with six of all different shapes and sizes racing down the home straight.
Charlotte Faulkner of the Friends of the Dartmoor Hill Ponies said: “It’s a wonderful opportunity to experience something completely different and for everyone to se how wonderful the ponies are.”
The pony race comes under starters’ orders at 12 noon, closely followed by the Clydesdales at 12.20pm. The first of the seven races for thoroughbreds comes under orders at 1.05pm.
The racecourse has linked up with Devon Food and Drink and local food and drink producers will be selling their wares at a Farmers’ Market, Exeter Morris Men will provide traditional entertainment and of course there are seven thrilling races to enjoy.
Devon residents are being offered a £5 discount off the normal price of a Grandstand and Paddock ticket if booked in advance (quote RESDEVON). Children aged 17 and under race free.
The first of seven races is off at 1.05pm, gates open at 10.30am and there’s a free bus from Exeter St David’s at 11.15am and the Bus and Coach Station 11.30am, returning half an hour after the last race.