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18 Dec 2018

First race to be named in honour of departing Clerk of the Course Richard Osgood on Betway Challow Hurdle Day

The end of an era will be reached at Newbury on Saturday, December 29, Betway Challow Hurdle Day, when Clerk of the Course Richard Osgood officiates at the track for the final time – 99 years after the first member of the Osgood family joined the racecourse staff.

The day will be marked with the first race being renamed in his honour as the Betway ‘Farewell to Richard Osgood’ Juvenile Hurdle.

Richard was born and bred on the racecourse site, becoming assistant to his father Frank, who was part of the management team from 1947 until he retired in 1990, and latterly estates manager and clerk of the course.

From Arkle to Frankel, Richard has seen all the greats who raced at Newbury and with former Newbury Chief Executive Mark Kershaw, helped pioneer the introduction of frost covers which have been pivotal in keeping racing going during the harshest points of the winter.

Recalling memories over the last 40 years at the racecourse, Richard has seen all the outstanding races at Newbury and it will be with fond sadness that he steps away from somewhere that has been not just a home but a workplace since 1979 and where his great uncle John Osgood was the manager in 1919.

Richard said: “I was born on the place.

“My mother and father lived here and I have lived onsite for 56 years. As a child I was on my bicycle mucking around the stands. I was born and bred here; it was a fantastic childhood.”

During his time at Newbury, Richard saw many of the greats grace the track among them the legendary Arkle, who carried off the Hennessy Gold Cup in 1964 and 1965.

He continued: “Arkle was my hero as child.

“He was the horse I always watched when I was young. Some of things he did were amazing. I always followed him and Mill House and on the Flat there was Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard.”

Of the more recent stars to perform heroics at Newbury, he said: “I have got to say the way Denman won his second Hennessy was one of the best I’ve seen, but I was also lucky enough to see Frankel win here in the Lockinge, plus Hawk Wing in the same race and also watch Nashwan work.

“The Major [trainer Dick Hern] used to like to bring Nashwan down here for his final gallop before a big race. I just loved the way the horse moved with such a flowing action.”

Richard’s enduring legacy followed on from the aftermath of the 2006 Super Saturday meeting, which was the victim of a late abandonment on the day of the fixture because the course was frozen.

He recalls: “We had covered all the take-offs, landings and vulnerable areas as usual, temperatures were rising and the frost was coming out of the ground, but then we got cloud and temperatures dropped again. We had an inspection and it wasn’t raceable. We wanted to give it half an hour longer but racing was called off when everyone was there. We lost the day but what it did do was make us think about things.”

With similar weather threatening the next meeting in March, Richard and then managing director Kershaw took the decision try to cover the whole course and invested in fleece covers, similar to those used by fruit farmers. As a result of their success, the investment has been copied by other major courses.

“That has got to be my proudest achievement,” says Richard.

“I had letters from all over the world and from people who didn’t think it could be done. Simon Claisse was on the phone from Cheltenham asking how we had done it. All the other clerks then had to look into it. We completely changed the way things were done.”

Richard hands over to Keith Ottesen on January 1, 2019, but with wife Cilla continuing at Newbury as membership secretary the family connection will not be completely severed.

He concluded: “I have immensely enjoyed almost 40 years here and have been incredibly lucky to have played a small part in some highly memorable racing moments. 

“I have been fortunate enough to have met and worked with so many brilliant people.

“It will feel sad to be leaving, but I know I put everything into it and have left my mark.”

Richard Osgood

Julian Thick, Chief Executive of Newbury Racecourse, commented: “It would be hard to find someone more dedicated to Newbury than Richard over nearly 40 years.

“I would like to thank him for all his hard work and wish him the very best in the future. Thanks to Betway for allowing us to rename the first race in honour on Challow Day which will mark the end of an era.”

Betway Challow Hurdle Day takes place on Saturday, December 29, with seven competitive races on the card, featuring Newbury’s only G1 Jump race, the Betway Challow Hurdle worth £45,000.

Gates open at 10.00am with the first race at 12.05pm.

For further information or to book tickets click here.

Notice Board

15 Jan 2019

 

Keith Ottesen officiates as clerk of the course at Newbury for the first time tomorrow, having replaced long-time clerk Richard Osgood who stepped down at the end of last year after nearly 40 years of service.

Keith joined Newbury in August from Chepstow, one of a number of tracks he has been responsible for over the last 15 years. He has extensive experience in the racing industry having worked in a number of racing stables and studs around the world before taking his first racecourse job.

How did you get into horse racing?

We always had horses around at home and I did show jumping and eventing when I was young from which I developed a huge interest in horse racing and the thoroughbred. After university I went to work for a couple of small breeders and would produce their horses for yearling sales. From there I went to the National Stud to complete a stud management course and then to the Head family’s Haras du Quesnay farm in Normandy. I left there when I got a job as assistant trainer to Michael Bell. I spent a couple of years in Newmarket before moving to the US to work for Christophe Clement on the East Coast. I would ride Tikkanen [Breeders’ Cup Turf winner] every day while I was there. I did some pinhooking as well.

What was your first racecourse job?

Working at the National Stud and in America I was always at or around tracks and in 2003 I applied to be a clerk of the course. That was at Uttoxeter for Northern Racing at the time. In January 2010 Chepstow became my base. At the same time I also looked after Hereford until it closed temporarily in December 2012. After that I took on Bath for a season before adding Worcester, then took on Ffos Las with Chepstow and Worcester. I filled in at Windsor for a while in 2017 too. I came to Newbury in August before taking over fully from Richard in January.

What has been your best moment in racing?

Being appointed clerk of the course at Newbury has to be up there. In terms of racing experiences Tony McCoy won his first Welsh National on Synchronised for Jonjo O’Neill in my first year at Chepstow which was a great highlight. Then Native River won the same race after winning the final Hennessy here at Newbury. Both were to become Cheltenham Gold Cup winners.

What are you most looking forward to as clerk of the course at Newbury?

I look forward to racedays mostly as that is when we put on a show and the future stars turn up. It’s great to still be able to work closely with Flat and Jumps horses and see which of them will go on to become champions.

12 Dec 2018

Day two of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival at Newbury Racecourse took place on Saturday, December 1, with the feature £250,000 G3 Ladbrokes Trophy taking centre-stage.

The Ladbrokes Trophy saw Sizing Tennessee gain an impressive victory over Elegant Escape as trainer Colin Tizzard recorded a memorable first and second in Britain’s second-richest handicap chase.

Ladbrokes Trophy Day pulled in a crowd of just over 16,000 which was marginally down on 2017, while the two day Ladbrokes Winter Carnival saw over 23,000 racegoers in attendance.

Julian Thick, Chief Executive of Newbury Racecourse said: “It is encouraging to see solid crowds across the two days. Ladbrokes Trophy Day was slightly down on last year, which we expected given the weather forecast at the start of this week, but we hope our customers have been given a vastly improved experience across the site, with the majority of the redevelopment now complete. There has been a great atmosphere, fantastic racing and with Ladbrokes we will look forward to next year.

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