STEPHEN WALLIS APPOINTED NEWMARKET MANAGING DIRECTOR
Newmarket Racecourses and Jockey Club Racecourses are pleased to announce that Stephen Wallis has been appointed managing director of Newmarket Racecourses.
He will succeed Lisa Hancock who, as previously announced, is standing down in November in order to spend more time with her young family.
Stephen Wallis is currently managing director of Epsom Downs, where he has worked since 1994. He will work closely with Lisa Hancock in the final weeks of the current season to ensure a smooth handover, while also retaining an involvement with Epsom Downs in leading the search for the next sponsor of The Derby Festival.
Ric Hambro, chairman of Newmarket, said today: “I am delighted that Stephen has accepted the role of Newmarket’s managing director. Lisa will be a hard act to follow, but I am confident that the course will continue to flourish as Stephen builds on her considerable achievements.
“Stephen has overseen the revitalisation of The Derby to great effect and his experience, communication skills and rapport with all sectors of the racing industry will hold him in good stead in his new role.
“Newmarket is growing and evolving and, following the successful introduction of the new facilities on the July Course, together with our continued commitment to staging quality racing, there are many reasons to be excited about the future of the racecourse.”
Stephen Wallis commented today: “I am very much looking forward to the challenge of succeeding Lisa at Newmarket. I have enjoyed my time at Epsom immensely and only an opportunity as exciting and inspiring as the role at Newmarket could have tempted me away.
He added: “I have been involved in 14 historic runnings of The Derby and I am very proud of what has been achieved in that period. Furthermore, the course is looking forward to an exciting future with the building of the new grandstand underway.
“However, the role of managing director at Newmarket, the home of horseracing, represents the type of fresh challenge that I feel I am ready for.”
Christopher Spence, chairman of Epsom Downs, said: “Epsom is indebted to Stephen for all he has achieved with the course and we will be very sad to see him leave. His energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the job will make finding a worthy successor a challenging task.
“However, I am confident that the prospect of overseeing the running of The Derby and the opening of the new grandstand and facilities in 2009 will ensure that there is no shortage of quality candidates to replace Stephen.
“We are delighted that his skills and experience are being retained by Jockey Club Racecourses and we wish Stephen all the best in his new role.”
Andrew Coppel, chief executive of Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “Jockey Club Racecourses has a policy of promoting from within where appropriate and Stephen’s appointment to Newmarket underlines the quality of personnel we are able to call upon for such key roles.
“Lisa has been an outstanding managing director at Newmarket and a loyal servant to the group for 13 years. We are optimistic that we shall retain the benefit of her experience when she steps down from Newmarket at the end of this season.”
The process of identifying a new managing director for Epsom has begun and an announcement will be made in due course.
SALISBURY’S SEASON COMES TO A CLOSE
Wednesday, October 3, sees the conclusion of another exciting season at Salisbury racecourse with a seven-race programme of good-quality racing.
The feature contest on October 3 is the £18,000 Smith & Williamson Conditions Stakes (4.00pm), run over six furlongs for two-year-olds and won by the useful Dubai Builder in 2006. Back in 1998, this race fell to Island Sands, subsequently successful the following season in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket while the 1996 victor Tomba went on to enjoy Group One success as a sprinter.
Action begins with the Axminster Carpets Apprentice Handicap (2.00pm) over a mile, the final race in the Axminster Carpets Apprentice Series. Thomas Bubb, Barry Savage and Haddon Frost are currently tying on 10 points in the series.
Race two of the afternoon is the £8,000 Allied Irish Bank Southampton EBF Maiden Stakes (2.30pm), a mile contest for two-year-olds in which the high-class Papal Bull finished runner-up two years ago, followed by the £8,000 Upton McGougan Consulting Engineers EBF Novice Stakes (3.00pm). The £5,000 poshchateux.com Claiming Stakes (3.30pm) is race four on the card.
Bringing Salisbury’s season to a close are the £10,000 Wood BMW Handicap (4.30pm), a competitive six-furlong sprint handicap, and the £6,000 Tori Tucker Memorial ‘Hammer Out’ Brain Tumours Handicap (5.00pm), run over a mile and three quarters.
Once again, a big screen will be in operation at Salisbury so that racegoers miss none of the enthralling action on the track.
Ticket prices for October 4 are Members’ Enclosure £18 (dress code applies - see the website www.salisburyracecourse.co.uk), Tattersalls Enclosure £11, Course Enclosure £6. Accompanied children under 16 are admitted FREE. Car parking is FREE.
Book online and save 10%! Go to www.comehorseracing.com/salisbury for more details.
SENSATIONAL SAKHEE’S SECRET THE HIGHLIGHT AT SALISBURY IN 2007
The breathtaking success of Sakhee’s Secret in the Listed Axminster Carpets Cathedral Stakes on June 17, was undoubtedly the highlight of 2007 at Salisbury.
Trained at East Ilsley by Hughie Morrison and owned by Bridget Swire, a longstanding supporter of racing at Salisbury, Sakhee’s Secret defeated Prime Defender by four lengths in the six-furlong contest after storming clear in the final furlong. After his Salisbury success, he headed to Newmarket to contest the richest sprint race in Europe, the Darley July Cup, where he saw off the best opposition from Europe and Australia to record a half-length victory over Dutch Art.
Salisbury’s richest race of the season, the £65,000 Group Three totesport Sovereign Stakes on August 16 went the way of soft-ground specialist Pride Of Nation, trained by Luca Cumani, while the Listed European Breeders’ Fund Upavon Fillies’ Stakes went to the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Promising Lead.
Once again, a large number of good two-year-olds were seen at Salisbury this season. These include McCartney, owned by Sheikh Mohammed, who made the journey down from Mark Johnston’s Middleham yard to take the Listed Weatherbys Bank Stonehenge Stakes on August 31. The son of In The Wings went on to prove himself a top-class juvenile by landing the Group Two Champagne Stakes at Doncaster on September 15, by a decisive two and a half lengths.
Hi Calypso, victorious in the Doccombe European Bibury Cup on June 27, progressed to collect the Group Three Lillie Langtry Stakes at Glorious Goodwood before showing further improvement when winning the Group Two Park Hill Stakes (often referred to as the “Fillies’ St Leger”) at Doncaster on September 13. Ordnance Row, also successful on June 27 in the Noel Cannon Memorial Trophy, landed the very valuable totescoop6 Handicap at Sandown on his next start before returning to Salisbury where he chased home Pride Of Nation in the Group Three Sovereign Stakes.
Cake, trained by Richard Hannon, was successful at Salisbury’s opening meeting on May 6 and was subsequently successful in Listed company. Fast Company was another nice two-year-old who won his maiden at Salisbury in July before winning the Group Three Acomb Stakes at York.
The famous Royal colours were seen in the winner’s enclosure at Salisbury this season with Fretwork and Hunting Tower providing two winners for HM The Queen,
Marlborough-based Richard Hannon is currently way out in front in terms of leading trainers at Salisbury in 2007, having saddled seven winners. Reigning champion Ryan Moore has been the jockey to follow with 11 winners so far - five clear of his closest pursuers Seb Sanders and Steve Drowne.
Jeremy Martin, Clerk of the Course and General Manager at Salisbury, said: “We have enjoyed a decent enough season at Salisbury with excellent racing, both from established horses and from potentially exciting performers of the future.
“Sakhee’s Secret is one of the best horses to be seen at the racecourse for many years and his performance in the Listed Axminster Carpets Cathedral Stakes really was something special.
“It was unfortunate to lose two racedays in July due to the unseasonably wet weather but, on the positive side, we have welcomed 4,000 extra paying customers through the gates this year.
“Our concluding fixture on October 3 offers some decent action and will hopefully round off the year in perfect fashion.”