Gloucestershire trainer David Bridgwater savoured one of the proudest moments of his career at Beverley last year and returns to East Yorkshire on Tuesday to relive the moment.
Twelve months ago, Bridgwater was on hand to watch his 17-year-old daughter, Poppy, claim a first victory on a racecourse when Engai won the Dorothy Laird Memorial Trophy.
Now the Bridgwaters and Engai will attempt to repeat the dose in the mile-and-a-quarter handicap for lady riders at 6.05pm - the concluding event on a fine eight-race card on the Westwood.
David Bridgwater said: “The old boy had a fall over hurdles about three years ago and scraped his eye. After that he wouldn’t jump a hurdle or a fence again, and the owners at the time very kindly gave him to me for Poppy to ride on the Flat. She obviously had her first winner at Beverley last season. That was a wonderful feeling and something I’ll never forget. It was brilliant, and exactly what racing is all about.”
Engai won an eight-and-a-half-furlong handicap at Wolverhampton in March in the hands of George Downing, after which he finished second at Lingfield in June. He then warmed up for this assignment with a fourth-placed finish over this trip at Nottingham on July 2.
Bridgwater added: “He’s done fantastically well since he went on the Flat and ran a stormer at Nottingham on ground that was too soft for him. Beverley clearly suits him and he runs here off the same mark when he won a year ago. He’s a lovely horse, and I’m hoping he’ll be in the first four again.”
Racing at Beverley is due to begin at 2.20pm, with the feature race being the £10,000 131st Year of the Watt Memorial Handicap (4.00) over two miles. A centrepiece on Beverley’s fixture list, the race has existed since a local dignitary, William Watt, bequeathed a fund to the racecourse. His father, Squire Richard Watt, who was based at nearby Bishop Burton, trained four St Leger winners in the early part of the 19th century – Altisidora (1813), Barefoot (1823), Memnon (1825) and Rockingham (1833).
The going at Beverley is currently good, with the forecast for raceday largely bright with sunny intervals, and highs of around 18C.