Chepstow remembers Sir Gordon

Saturday, 26 August 2017

By Contributed Item
in Equine

The legendary jockey Sir Gordon Richards who in 1933 rode eleven consecutive winners at Chepstow Racecourse is to be officially remembered by the track’s management.

A race is to be named in his honour at the Welsh racecourse on Bank Holiday Monday, August 28.

The two mile race,with prize money of £20,000 will be sponsored by Oakgrove Stud which is located next to the racecourse and its owner John Deer, has owned numerous top class horses including Al Kazeem and Avonbridge.

In the autumn of 1933, 29-year-old Richards was trying hard to beat Fred Archer’s record of 246 winners in a season,which had stood since 1885.

A victory at Nottingham on Tuesday, October 3, took his score to 206 with six weeks of the season left.

Richards came to Chepstow on Wednesday and rode all six winners and not once did he need to draw his whip as he went though the card.

A crowded Chepstow on the Thursday saw him ride the first five winners and his 12 consecutive wins inspired a song, Well Done Gordon, to be composed in his honour which can be heard on You Tube.

Gordon reached the record total of 259 winners in 1933, a total only ever exceeded on the flat in 1947 and 1949 when he rode 269 and 261 respectively.

He was champion jockey 26 times but didn’t win a Derby until 1953 when he scored on Pinza and in that week became the first jockey to be knighted.

I had the pleasure of meeting Sir Gordon at a Chepstow Racecourse press luncheon in his honour some years ago now, and as he was born in Shrewsbury on the Welsh border I tried to convince him that he was Welsh!

He agreed that Richards was a Welsh name but didn’t agree to being a Welshman. However, he kindly signed my menu card for me as just plain Gordon Richards. He was so modest that he never put the word Sir first.

Phil Bell, executive director, said: “Chepstow’s history is full of memorable performances related to jump racing but we thought it was important to recognise this amazing feat by such a legendary flat jockey.”

BRIAN LEE

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