Henry Cecil Open Weekend coming to Newmarket's racing yards this weekend
Newmarket’s racing yards, and a host of other equine attractions, are getting ready to welcome visitors back this Saturday and Sunday for the popular annual Henry Cecil open weekend.
The two-day event, which is making a comeback after having to go virtual last year as a result of the Covid pandemic, is a rare opportunity to delve behind the scenes at some of Britain’s best-known racing yards.
And organisers are hoping they can top the £48,000 raised by that online version with the beneficiaries of this weekend’s event being Racing Welfare, the newly formed Newmarket Pony Academy, which gives local school children the chance to start riding, and a soon-to-be announced Newmarket community project to benefit all residents.
The programme of events gets under way on Saturday, when there will be tours of the British Racing School, Tattersalls, the National Stud, the Jockey Club Rooms and Peter O’Sullevan House, the Injured Jockeys’ Fund rehabilitation centre in Snailwell Road. And at the National Horseracing Museum visitors will get the chance to meet recently retired star sprinter Battaash.
The race meeting at the Rowley Mile in the afternoon will feature the popular Henry Cecil Commentator Challenge, sponsored by Dr Johnny Hon, when some of the newest additions to Newmarket’s training ranks – Kevin Philippart de Foy, Harry Eustace, Ed Crisford, George Boughey, James Ferguson and Tom Clover – will take on 2020 virtual Commentator Challenge winner Danny Archer in the competition, which was first staged in 2015.
There will be an early start to an action-packed Sunday, which gets under way at Warren Hill gallops between 8am and 9am, when equine superstars including Palace Pier, Mishriff and staying superstar Stradivarius, will be put through their paces.
Then, from 9am to 12.30pm, 30 trainers are set to open their doors to the public, including William Jarvis, Amy Murphy, Hugo Palmer, Richard Spencer, David Simcock, Ton Clover, James Fanshawe, Harry Eustace, Ed Dunlop and Charlie Fellowes. Saeed Bin Suroor’s historic Godolphin stables, formerly Stanley House, where some of the 17th Earl of Derby’s greatest horses, including Hyperion, were trained, will also be on the roster but will close at 10.30am.
Sunday afternoon entertainment on The Severals includes the Qatar Racing Pony Club Games, the Shadwell-sponsored fun dog show, terrier racing and the popular Clipper Logistics Racing Personality showjumping competition which has been won in the past by champion jockeys Oisin Murphy and Ryan Moore.
Over the weekend, admission to the National Horseracing Museum will be £7.50 for all its attractions.
Prices start at £15 for a weekend wristband purchased in advance via www.thehenrycecilopenweekend.co.uk with16s and under going free.