Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
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JOHN FRANCOME has been honoured by having a race named after him at Newbury’s biggest jump racing day of the season, Ladbrokes Trophy Day on December 2.
The seven-time champion national hunt jockey twice won Newbury’s feature jump race – The Hennessy Gold Cup – during a spectacular career that returned 1138 winners.
Francome won The Hennessy on Brown Chamberlin (1983) and Burrough Hill Lad (1984). He retired from race-riding in 1985 and followed up with a successful career as a broadcaster and author.
Newbury have renamed their Grade 2 novices’ chase the ‘Ladbrokes John Francome Novices’ Chase’ which is on the same card as the feature £250,000 Ladbrokes Trophy (formerly The Hennessy).
Mike Dillon, PR director at Ladbrokes, added: “This is a thoroughly deserved and appropriate accolade for one of the greats of the sport.
“Everyone has their own favourite ‘Francome moment’, but for me the sportsmanship he displayed in 1981/82 when he stopped riding towards the end of the season having drawn level with Peter Scudamore so that they shared the Champion Jockey title sums up the man perfectly.”
Francome said: “Newbury is not only my local track, it is also my favourite and I am honoured to have a race named after me, especially one which has produced such outstanding winners for the past two years.
“You normally have to die before anything like this happens, so I hope they don’t know something more than I do and that I am here to see the next winner!”
The Ladbrokes Winter Carnival takes place on Friday, December 1 and Saturday, December 2, with total prize money over the two days amounting to a record £700,000.
Ladbrokes earlier this year agreed a deal to sponsor the high-profile two-day meeting, taking over the sponsorship and will support 13 of the 14 races. The exception is the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Handicap Chase which continues to be supported by the friends of Sir Peter.
Horse Talk with Simon Jackson. Showcasing horse racing in London and the south east.