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Dreaming of Silver on Wincanton’s Festive Raceday

Wednesday 27 November 2019, 18:38
By Lucy Johnson

A festive racing jumper wearing a festive racing jumper.

Break free from your offices and head to Wincanton Racecourse for an early Christmas celebration on Thursday, 5th December. With the holiday season approaching, it’s the perfect time to gather friends and colleagues for a day out at the races.

The seven-race card features the Weatherbys Racing Bank Silver Buck Handicap Chase, named after Silver Buck, whose wins at Wincanton included the Jim Ford Challenge Cup in 1981. He also won in 1982 before claiming victory in that year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup and secured the Champion National Hunt Horse of the Year title. A year later Silver Buck, who won six times in all at Wincanton, was part of the most remarkable training feat in history when the legendary Michael Dickinson saddled the first five home in the Cheltenham Gold Cup – Silver Buck was fourth.

Run over three miles and a furlong, it’s a race that attracts plenty of experienced horses like last year’s winner, Reikers Island, who landed a six lengths success, or the 2017 winner, Daklondike, who is trained by David Pipe on the Devon-Somerset border at Culmstock. That win was particularly special for Pipe who spent time working for Michael Dickinson in America, and appreciates the naming of races after past heroes of the turf to ensure their names live on in history.

“Michael Dickinson was probably one of the greatest ever trainers with whom I was lucky enough to spend some time during the early part of my training career. He had a great work ethos, leaving no stone unturned and I learned a lot from him.”

 - David Pipe, trainer

Ziga Boy won the race in 2014 with a young Tom Bellamy in the saddle who was claiming five pounds at the time. Since then, Tom’s star has been in the ascendant and he’s bagged some big races, including November’s Unibet Greatwood Hurdle on Harambe for his boss Alan King.

“The race is a good stepping stone as Ziga Boy went on to win the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster twice with Tom on board in 2017. Racing is so competitive at this time of year as we’re building up to the busy Christmas season and all the trainers have their very good horses out now.”

 - Robert Bellamy, Tom’s father and Wincanton’s racecourse commentator

“There are always great stories behind every winner we have here, whether it’s the horse, the owner, the trainer or the jockeys which adds to that unique and special atmosphere.”

 - Huw Williams, General Manager, Wincanton Racecourse

The first of seven races come under starters orders at 12:20pm with the gates opening at 10:30am.

For more information, including pick-up points and times of the free bus, visit


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