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17 Aug 2019

Watson at Newbury – 17 August

Newbury Racecourse Ambassador Jason Watson gives his thoughts on his four mounts at Newbury today.

1.15 Qarasu

I thought he was a really nice horse when I won on him at Windsor and the time before finished third at Nottingham. The last day at Newmarket we weren’t sure whether to run him on the quicker ground and he absolutely hated it. We looked after him in the race. He came back a sound and happy horse so it doesn’t look to have affected him. There could be a lot of rain about and I feel he is a ten times better horse with a bit of cut in the ground. I think conditions should be perfect and the trip will be fine. I think he will run a strong race.

3.00 Ripp Orf

He has been running well lately but he’s been a bit unlucky at the same time in not getting a run through races that would have been ideal for him. He won off a 1lb higher mark for me last year at Ascot. Soft ground probably won’t help our cause. I think he is a top of the ground horse. It was soft when we were second on Champions’ Day last year so he goes on it but if it hadn’t have been soft he probably would have won the race. This race doesn’t look overly strong. He is running off top weight but seems to have got better as the year has gone on. He didn’t disgrace himself on good too soft last time at Ascot. He could run another big race and hopefully go very close.

4.10 Adonijah

I was very happy with his debut at Newmarket. He gave me the feel of a nice horse and was beaten by a horse who had previously finished second to Logician who is now rated in the 100s. We finished half a length behind him at Newmarket and he has a rating of 95. Had we had experience we probably would have won the race. I think he can run a really big race. The trip will be perfect, and I don’t think soft ground will bother him as he is a Sea The Stars colt. He’s not very exposed where there are few that are. Newbury will suit him and he is one I have to look forward to.

4.45 Zzoro

He is not off a bad mark and has been running well in this grade. If the ground stays good or soft he should be much more suited to that. If it gets any quicker I am not sure how much he would enjoy it. He’s been in good order and was unlucky to get beat with me two starts ago at Kempton. He also ran a solid race the last day. There are some possible improvers in the race but the signs are that he will run well.

Notice Board

23 May 2019

Getting to know Simon Tonge, Hospitality Sales Manager

When did you start work at Newbury Racecourse?

I started working at Newbury in February 2015 and my first raceday was Betfair Super Saturday 2015 which was when AP McCoy announced his retirement after riding his 200th winner of that season.

What did you do prior to working here?

Prior to joining Newbury Racecourse, I had been at university at the University of the West of England studying Business Studies. Having been born and bred in Cheltenham, I developed a passion for horse racing and upon completing my degree, sought to get into the racing industry.

What was your first job here?

My first role at Newbury was as a Sales Executive with a specific focus around our raceday restaurants. My responsibilities included converting incoming enquiries, building relationships with our existing clients and finding new clients to come and enjoy the hospitality options we have. In addition to these responsibilities, I would work closely with our operations and catering teams to ensure we delivered memorable days within the restaurants for our guests.

What is your current job here?

My current role is Hospitality Sales Manager which sees myself head up the hospitality and dining team. I still spend a lot of time booking private suites and tables in the restaurants for our clients but I also spend time in the planning phase with things like forecasting with accounts and creating innovative packages and offerings with our catering team to ensure we offer a first class service to all hospitality and dining guests.

I am supported by a fantastic group in the sales team who all go the extra mile in ensuring our clients have amazing experiences from the moment they enquire. We have a brilliant team ethic and it is so rewarding when we have a big raceday with around 2,000 hospitality guests, who are all enjoying a great day because of the hard work we have put in beforehand.

What advice would you have for someone looking to get into a similar line of work?

My main piece of advice would be to be persistent and don’t be disheartened if you get turned down for roles. I had a handful of other racecourses interview myself when I had recently graduated and for one reason or another, didn’t take a chance on me. It can be easy to give up and settle for a role in an industry that you aren’t passionate for but I am glad I didn’t as I really enjoy working in an industry that I am passionate about.

I would certainly recommend trying to get as much experience as you can, whether that be while you are studying or as a casual member of staff just on racedays if you have other commitments, as racecourses are unique places to work and any exposure you can get to them will stand you in good stead for when you are looking to get into the industry.

What is your favourite part of your job?

I would say my favourite part of my job is building relationships, both with clients and with members of the team here. We have some incredible regular clients who I have known since I started and would class many of them as good friends now. Getting to visit them on racedays and to catch up with them is really enjoyable and I count myself lucky that we have such a great group of regular guests.

I have been lucky to make some great friends during my time here. We have a fantastic team currently but also many of my former colleagues remain close friends. I think that, especially during the summer months when we are racing every week, it is a testing job but to maintain the high standards we set ourselves, our team has to work closely together and rely on each other. This leads to us being a tight knit team and creates friendships between us all.

17 May 2019

Things are beginning to pick up for the season. I’ve ridden a few winners in recent weeks, at nearly a winner a day. One of the highlights so far was my victory on Bubble And Squeak at Ascot last weekend when it was great to be a part of a treble for trainer Sylvester Kirk.

My boss Roger Charlton has been among the winners too, with another at Bath on Wednesday night. I am pleased about it all. I hope it continues.

I am getting plenty of rides, and good rides for the right people and feel very privileged to have secured such good contacts. There are people that were using my last year, when I was an apprentice, that have continued to use me this year.

Friday rides

1.30 Excellent Magic

She is well bred, quite a big, tall and rangy filly. She is bred to want further than seven furlongs. A lot depends on how the race turns out. It looks quite a strong race and on breeding I think we should be competitive.

3.20 Outofthequestion

I think stepping down in distance is probably a wise move, especially at somewhere like Newbury. It’s a pretty fair track and hopefully I will be able to go forward and kind of have the run of the race knowing that he stays further. He is probably still a bit high in the handicap but if all goes well he should run a nice race. He gets his ground as well.

3.55 Island Glen

Island Glen won second time out under David Egan and looked quite a nice horse in that race at Newcastle. This will be his first start on good to firm ground so we will have to wait and see how he takes to it. He is probably bred to prefer a bit of juice in the ground but hopefully he’ll still be good enough to win this time round.

4.25 Cambric

She has had a lot of time off and is not ideally drawn. She will relish the step up in trip.

Saturday rides

1.50 Red Impression

She is a horse I like a lot. She has shown plenty of promise in her three runs and on the last day she was very unlucky to not quite win at Chelmsford. We were drawn 14 of 14 around a track where it pays to be prominent. I had to swing round into the straight and go quite deep out onto to the track. Considering we were only beaten half a length it was a pretty outstanding run. It’s her first run on turf but I hope she will show the ability she has on the all-weather.

3.00 Headman

He has shown promise, especially in his first two starts. The last day at Newbury he was quite fresh early on in the race and was slightly needing it. Being a big horse he was still a little bit unfit after a long break. Running him back over a mile and two is probably the right idea. I think he has plenty of speed and seemed to have improved from his last race when the ground was a bit too soft for him.

4.50 Lady Adelaide

She showed promise in her first couple of runs and the other week at Newmarket in quite a competitive race she was quite buzzed up in the prelims and still looked like she was going to need the race. In the end she finished a fair fourth, but well beaten. She will improve in time and with a further trip, but I think she should have a shout on her last time out form.

5.25 Thrave

This is quite a competitive race. The drop in trip should help us out as last time she travelled well into the race and faded in the last furlong which suggests she probably didn’t stay the mile. She has won over seven before. Whether the ground could be a bit quick for her could be a problem but we will have to find that out.

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