Joy for Doncaster and Sir Alex as new meeting is a winner

Fergie's pride: Harry The Viking ridden by Daryl Jacob (right) beats Ikorodu Road.  Picture: John Giles/PA Wire.

Fergie's pride: Harry The Viking ridden by Daryl Jacob (right) beats Ikorodu Road. Picture: John Giles/PA Wire.

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Doncaster Racecourse’s first ever New Year national hunt meeting was a great success last week, even proving to be a right royal treat for a Knight of the Realm.

In the day’s feature race, the Lynn Higgins 60th Birthday Novices Limited Handicap Chase, over three miles and two furlongs, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Paul Nicholls trained Harry the Viking won by a head in an exciting finish from outside chance Ikorodu Road.

Fergie's pride: Harry The Viking ridden by Daryl Jacob beats Ikorodu Road to the delight of owner Sir Alex Ferguson, pictured after the race.  Picture: John Giles/PA Wire.

Fergie's pride: Harry The Viking ridden by Daryl Jacob beats Ikorodu Road to the delight of owner Sir Alex Ferguson, pictured after the race. Picture: John Giles/PA Wire.

Mrs Higgins was at the racecourse for her birthday surprise and had no idea the feature race would carry her name. She was even more delighted when she presented the Manchester United manager with the latest in his long line of trophies.

And as for the day itself a crowd of over 5,000 people enjoyed some top class racing and great festive atmosphere at the track.

Having rounded off the year in style, the team here at Doncaster were grateful for a hard earned, if brief rest. Racing in 2012 kicks off here with a six race card on Wednesday, January 11, with the first race at 1.05pm.

Then looking further ahead Town Moor will host the major Skybet Chase fixture on Saturday, January 28, which is likely to boast some fantastic entries. Tickets and hospitality for this event are already selling well.

This Saturday, although there’s no action at Doncaster, there’s a strong televised card from Sandown in prospect. In the 2.35pm 32Red Hurdle Novices´ Hurdle, Prospect Wells, trained by Paul Nicholls and due to be ridden by Ruby Walsh, could very well be there or there abouts.

While Sir Alex enjoyed his win here at Doncaster another sporting legend hasn’t had quite so much fun at the races recently.

Champion Jockey Tony McCoy unfortunately broke several ribs in a fall at Taunton last week and is unsurprisingly not going to be riding out this week. Although 300 winners for the season may now be a real stretch he’s still odds on for the title again and I’m sure will be back riding winners very soon.

And at the BHA, a new man comes into the saddle this month, with Paul Bittar becoming the new chief executive, having previously been head of strategy for Racing Victoria in Australia.

For more information on Doncaster Racecourse or to book tickets to an event or race day, go to www.doncaster-racecourse.co.uk or call 01302 304 200