Southwell is a town in Nottinghamshire in the East Midlands of England.
The main feature of this town is Southwell Minster http://www.southwellminster.org which has very good reviews on TripAdvisor and similar sites. I had a visit today and I must say, it’s very beautiful and the people taking care of it are lovely.
There is evidence of settlements here all the way back to Roman times. The Saracens Head Inn, then called The Kings Head was the last resting place of Charles I before surrendering. Subsequently much of the town was ransacked by Parliamentarian troops in search of valuables. Modern day Southwell is considered affluent compared to nearby towns in the region and was shortlisted by The Times as ‘Best Places to Live 2017’ for the Midlands region.
Southwell Racecourse stages both Flat on the All Weather (Fibresand) and National Hunt Racing on turf. They also have a couple of turf meetings on the flat each year.
The AW Flat course is a left-handed and flat circuit of one and a quarter miles with a home straight of three furlongs. There is a spur which facilitates a straight five furlong course. There is a distinct advantage in being drawn low in 5 furlong sprints as high numbers are against the stands rail which is slower than the centre of the course.
The couple of flat meetings on turf are run inside the AW track and the circuit is about a furlong shorter.
The Jumps course also runs left-handed. It is oval, approximately a mile round with tight bends. The run in from the last is a furlong. The (portable) fences are quite stiff and this track has one of the higher casualty rates. It can become quite a slog here when the ground is testing.
Clerk of the course: Roderick Duncan
Course telephone number: 01636 814481
Full address: Southwell Racecourse, Rolleston, Nottinghamshire, NG25 0TS
Southwell is 137 miles from Central London, 68 miles from Birmingham, 177 miles from Cardiff, 79 miles from Manchester and 270 miles from Edinburgh.
The course is 3 miles south east of town at Rolleston.
There are two enclosures here, The Premier Enclosure and The Grandstand. The dress code for The Premier Enclosure isn’t particularly strict though t-shirts, shorts and trainers are discouraged.
Th course advertise one restaurant, ‘Seasons’ in which you will have a view overlooking either the course or the parade ring. There is a package available, details of which are on the website. I did wander in there and had a cuppa and I liked it in there.
In the Grandstand Enclosure, there is also Castle Bar & Carvery, The Fish & Chip Shop, and The Food Pantry. There are also bars and fast food options around the course, though these were closed today.
The stands aren’t huge but are big enough and the view from them is very good. One note of caution is that they are help up by narrow pillars / girders at the front and that could hamper your view a little bit if it was busy. It’s not serious though.
I think the area behind the stand where the parade ring is located is also done nicely. I just love those three tall trees in the parade ring
This is my first visit to Southwell. I have been told that it doesn’t attract too many racegoers during midweek and to be honest that’s the case at many of the non grade 1 tracks. But I wasn’t disappointed at the crowd nor atmosphere today, I quite enjoyed it.
The first race was a Class 4 Mares Handicap Chase over three miles. My interest is in Dawnieriver trained by Michael Scudamore and ridden by Tom Scudamore. She has won her last two, the first of those easily and although up 11lbs for her efforts, she may not yet be finished winning and has a great chance in this small field. My main concern was that the going was good for both those wins and she may not be as effective if the ground were to deteriorate too much, though she has won on Good to Soft in the past. Her main rival today was novice Hoo Bally Diva trained by Bob Buckler and ridden by Sean Houlihan. She had finished 2nd on both her recent outings, both at Exeter and the most recent and 8l beating by comfortable and promising winner Lil Rockerfeller. My thoughts were that Dawnieriver is the more experienced and battle hardened of the two and in receipt of 5lb is a confident selection.
Hoo Bally Diva was made favourite but backers knew their fate early as didn’t jump to well and came under pressure very early, eventually finishing fourth. Dawnieriver travelled well and though put under pressure towards the end of the back straight, came to join the leader easily enough turning for home, the pair clear and then quite quickly faded and was beaten into third by the runaway winner, Silent Steps.
The third race, a Class 4 Novice Hurdle looks at the mercy of Commodore Barry and my hope was that I could get a reasonable price at which to back him. He won his season opener here at the beginning of October, beating the reasonable Angel Of Harlem by half a length, though idled once in front. The pair did go clear though. He gave that rival 9lb that day. More recently, he found the concession of 13lb to Monty’s Award beyond him at Worcester, going down 2 1/2 lengths to that rival and was perhaps inconvenienced by the drop to 2m 4f. Both his previous races this season were handicaps and back up to 3 miles today and back in Novice company, I was confident he would win.
There was a lot of money for Notachance and this was also a fancy for my buddy @genuinetriers, all of which served to put a little doubt in my mind. In any event Commodore Barry went 8/11 and that was just about good enough for me. He was eventually returned 8/13. In the race, he made all travelling strongly throughout. I fancy he may win again…..!
The fifth race, a Class 4 Maiden Hurdle included an interesting runner Golden Etoile trained by Colin Tizzard and ridden by Tom Scudamore. Pulled up on his last two runs in France, he made his debut in this country today and has travelled a long way up from Dorset to do so. I am also aware that he has been back down from big prices during yesterday evening and night. Interesting!!
I am also interested in the Harry Whittington trained Rouge Vif who ran half decently at Hereford last time out and today sports a hood for the first time. Both Bold Plan & Oakley have bits of form to commend them but both are far too short for what I consider their chance to be. I don’t like backing two in the same race too often but was tempted here, especially as at last nights prices, both can be backed each way. On the day, Golden Etoile drifted again and I left him alone. Rouge Vif on the other hand was backed and that included some of my hard earned. In truth, I was never concerned. He made most and always seemed to be travelling best and won a shade cosily I thought.
At this point, I decided to get gone and try and beat the traffic home and a successful play that turned out to be.
However, I had already had a bet in the final race. The race was a National Hunt Flat Race and the object of my interest was the Harry Fry trained Whitehotchillifili who had made the journey up from Dorset and was making his debut. I didn’t feel he needed to be anything special to take this and certainly, the previous run of likely favourite Daario Naharis was no better than fair. My main concern was another newcomer, the Fergal O’Brien trained I’m Wiser Now (by Presenting) who had attracted some interest in the market. However, at 5/1, I thought mine was a nice each way bet and so it proved to be. I’ve not seen the race but the race reports say mine wine by 6 lengths and comfortably. Happy Days!
My plan was to go to Haydock Park tomorrow. However, I have had the unusual (I would say) event of both headlight bulbs going on the way home. Thankfully, I was reasonably close to home when the second won went and was able to nursed it home. Lets see what happens tomorrow then!