A BUMPER crowd of 2,000 spectators enjoyed Hereford’s opening fixture of the season where cider and sausages were top of the menu.

Food and drink were perfectly complimented by a competitive seven-race card on good, good to firm ground.

It was a wholly Welsh affair in the first as Chepstow-based Grace Harris trained the winner of the 2m 4½f Visit Sri Lanka Handicap Hurdle, as Searching was ridden to a second clear-cut victory in 5 days by Ben Jones.

Sam Twiston-Davies landed a birthday win for father Nigel in The Catherine Kellett In Aid Of IJF Novices’ Hurdle with 4/1-shot Don’t Shout. The sponsor’s own horse, Red Nika, finished a gallant second for Herefordshire Trainer Tom Lacey and owner David Kellett.

A stewards’ enquiry was needed to decide the result of the third race with possible interference between the first home Anteros and the second The Welsh Paddies, trained locally by Kerry Lee, was looked in to.

After a lengthy wait the results remained unchanged.

Herefordshire based Champion Jockey Richard Johnson took the 3m 1½f Keltruck Scania Handicap with the sponsors celebrating the opening earlier this year of their Herefordshire depot.

Jones and Harris landed a double for Carl Johnston, in emphatic style, as 4/1-shot Field Exhibition took the 2m 4½f Sri Lanka Paradise Island Mares’ Handicap Chase by 13 lengths.

15/8F, Runasimi River, made it a treble for Ben Jones – beating the Donald McCain-trained Artichoke Heart by a head and in the last race Milkwood gave Neil Mulholland a quick-fire double winning under James Best.

Next up at Hereford is the Hereford FC Academy Raceday on Monday, November 4.

Hereford season ticket holders will gain free admission on the day, if they register in advance, and there is a fabulous restaurant offer too.

The partnership with the racecourse and football club aims to raise awareness and funds to help nurture and develop future Herefordshire footballing talent.