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Big cheers for Somerset’s most historic race

Thursday 8 November 2018, 17:04
By Lucy Johnson

Badger Ales beer mat horse rug and Present Man

The Badger Ales Trophy is Somerset’s most historic race that has thrilled the crowds since its inception in 1962, and this Saturday, 10th November,  local trainer Paul Nicholls will be hoping to add further to the race’s rich history.

The race is sponsored by independent brewer Hall & Woodhouse, the longest current sponsor in racing, and last year Nicholls saddled Present Man to win, a horse owned by the brewery’s chairman, Mark Woodhouse, and his wife Tessa. Nicholls is hoping to repeat that success again this year with Present Man being primed for the race.

“We’ve enjoyed so many great days at Wincanton and the success of Present Man in the Badger Ales Trophy last year was right up there with the best of them. Seeing him win in the colours of Mark Woodhouse was fantastic. He puts such a lot into racing, and I’d love to win it again for him.”

 - Paul Nicholls, local race horse trainer

Nicholls might also saddle El Bandit in the race which he has won a record eight times. Flaked Oats chalked up his first success in 1999 and followed up the following year with Montifault the 2001 victor. Royal Auclair won in 2004 and then Cornish Sett galloped home the winner under Nick Scholfield who lives just half an hour from the racecourse, in Street, and still remembers the day as one of his career highlights.

“I remember having to ride at Sandown on the same day and I travelled in the car to Wincanton with Tom George’s wife. It was a photo finish between Cornish Sett and Tom’s horse Island Flyer. It was an agonizing wait for the outcome and luckily we won.

“Cornish Sett was an inspirational horse for me – one of the very best. He took me around two Grand Nationals and two cross country races at Cheltenham, he won me a Badger beer and was second in the Welsh National. He was a fantastic horse, an absolute legend and looking back I really appreciate what he did for me.

“Peter Hart owned the horse and he’s supported me ever since. We’ve had a lot of successes together and Wincanton has always been a lucky track for me too.”

 - Nick Scholfield, professional jump jockey

Other wins followed for Nicholls with Meanus Dandy in 2010 and The Minack in 2011, and he’ll be hoping to add another to the roll call of winners on Saturday.

“I love having runners at Wincanton, my local track where a lot of my friends go.

It’s a great track, a great race, and hopefully there will be a lot of people to watch and enjoy the occasion.”

 - Paul Nicholls

The seven race card also includes the Grade 2 Unibet Elite Hurdle, a race won in the past by leading lights like Zarkandar, Celestial Halo and Sceau Royal.

Tickets bought in advance cost £22 each with children aged 17 and under racing free. On the day tickets cost £25 each. The first race is off at 12:40pm and the last at 4:10pm.

Visit www.wincantonracecourse.co.uk

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