Exeter’s Devon Day: Professional jockey Nick Scholfield donned a flight suit and put one of Dartmoor’s famous Clydesdales through its paces in preparation for Exeter Racecourse’s annual race that takes place on Sunday 26th November in aid of the Devon Air Ambulance.
Nick put Salvo Montalbano through his paces, and galloped alongside Siryl, who won at Flete Park in April, before posing on Coombestone Tor.
“It was great fun and it’s all for a good cause. The Devon Air Ambulance provides a vital service and it’s great that the Clydesdales come to Exeter on Devon Day to raise awareness and funds,” said Nick who has taken part in the race nearly every year, but is yet to win.
“All the jockeys love taking part, and it puts a smile on our faces as we ride these wonderful horses down Exeter’s home straight. It’s a lovely day out for all the family, and the cheers from the crowds are fantastic,” he added.
It’s the fifth year that the Clydesdales have raced at Exeter and their presence always draws a huge crowd of people keen to see the gentle giants in action. Everyone connected with the day’s racing gets involved and supports it with professional commentary from the tower, ITV Racing’s Luke Harvey providing on the spot interviews and sound bites, local bookmakers opening a book so that people can have a bet, with every single penny donated to the Devon Air Ambulance, and some of the top jockeys in the sport riding in the race including Sam Twiston-Davis, Aidan Coleman, Noel Fehily, and Daryl Jacob.
Tim Ancrum, who owns the horses with his partner Aileen Ware, said; “They are really quite mesmerising as they walk steadily around the paddock, and it’s always so lovely to see the appreciation people feel for them. As soon as the horses see the jockeys they really light up as they know they are going to enjoy a gallop with their pals. It’s a great day and encourages people from every walk of life to perhaps take up the reins and come and see the fabulous scenery that Dartmoor offers from the back of one of these gentle giants.”
Six horses will take part in the race on an action-packed day that includes seven ‘normal’ races and plenty of entertainment. Devon Air Ambulance Fundraising Director, Caroline Creer said, “We would like to extend a huge thanks to Adventure Clydesdales, Devon and Cornwall Bookmakers, and Exeter Racecourse once again for continuing to support Devon Air Ambulance. Devon Day is always an excellent event and has raised a significant amount of funds for the Charity, for which we are incredibly grateful. We always enjoy having a presence on the day and we’re looking forward to attending later this month.”
The Clydesdales that are racing this year are as follows:
Collessie Reflection (Midge) – 10 years old. Twice winner at Exeter and once at Flete Park. Has competed in dressage. A very quiet and gentle horse who saves his energy for when it counts. A small horse at 16hh but all Clydesdale inside.
Brimpts Enchanter (Frankie) – eight years old. Close second on two occasions and a frequent leader on the gallops, Frankie is ready to take the crown.
Solo – nine years old. Solo has been performing very well on Dartmoor this year and has endurance and stamina in abundance. Solo was the first winner of the Flete Park race.
Salvo Montalbano – six years old. This will be Salvo’s second appearance racing having finished fifth at Flete Park in April. Salvo is small and light for a Clydesdale and very athletic. Performs outstandingly on the gallops but can he bring it to the race?
Dapple Phil – six years old. This dark bay, blue-eyed boy is quiet and gentle but has the capacity to surprise in his strong compact frame! This will be his first outing.
Stobillee Sirocco Siryl – 11 years old. Siryl is the reigning champion having been first or thereabouts on every occasion before. This quiet horse keeps his talent well hidden and has a host of surprised admirers.
Last year’s race raised £5,000 for the Devon Air Ambulance. You can become a Clydesdale owner for the day and enjoy an ownership experience. Simply contact Tim Ancrum for details [email protected].
There’s also an opportunity to win a share with children invited to design the racecard cover for the day. Details and how to enter are on the website.
Photograph courtesy of Malcolm Snelgrove.