Thousands learn all about the horses at Chepstow racecourse

Thousands learn all about the horses at Chepstow racecourse

REALISTIC: Luca Morgan had a birthday treat as he tried out a simulator at the event

IMPRESSIVE: This year’s Grand National winner Neptune Collonges in the Parade of Champions

SUCCESSFUL: Olympic gold medallist Nick Skelton presents a prize to an owner

First published in News South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

THERE was something for everybody as Chepstow Racecourse welcomed the first of its clutch of big meetings at the weekend.

The first ‘All about the Horse’ themed day gave the 3,500 crowd a chance to learn more about the sport, while there was plenty of decent action on the track for the regular racegoer.

In between races on Saturday, children took great delight in having a go on a racehorse simulator, which came from the National Horse Racing Museum in Newmarket for the day.

Aspiring jockey Luca Morgan, 11, showed off his skills in front of dad Arron, 43 and his siblings Beau, seven and Travis, four.

“It’s fun, but not like a real horse,” the 11-year-old said.

Farrier Mike Jones, who makes racing horseshoes for the Venetia Williams yard, gave hourly displays of his talents.

“It’s a good initiative, this race day. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes and people need to know about it,” he said.

Former amateur jockey Mr Jones, 49, said putting horseshoes on racehorses was a specialist job and apprentices usually studied a course for 12 hours a week.

The event was also attended by Olympic gold medallist Nick Skelton.

Two horses not there to run were Rubin and Samson.

They recently attended Olympics events in Cardiff with the South Wales Police mounted section.

The pair’s job for the day, with PCs Richard Woozley and Stephen Durrani, was to lead in the Parade of Champions, headed by this year’s Grand National winner, Neptune Collonges.

The 2008 winner of the race, Comply or Die, also took part, along with his former stablemate, top-class chaser Well Chief and past Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander.

Children were fascinated by miniature Shetland ponies from the Phoenix Children’s Foundation.

Lottie and her offspring Lollipop spent the day nibbling grass in an enclosure near the entrance.

The pair are petting ponies and go to schools, hospitals and residential homes with the Phoenix Children’s Foundation, which also had two of its animals at Chepstow’s Co-Operative store, collecting funds.

General manager of the racecourse Rebecca Joy reported attendance was up 25 per cent on last year.

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