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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Cable-Alexander

Why Wincanton Racecourse is such a lure and how we all became Wynn-ers!

We had a ridiculously early start this morning providing breakfast for a couple who were attending yesterday's racecourse at Wincanton. The pair needed to leave us at 6am to get to a funeral in Southend-on-Sea by 9.30am which meant serving them breakfast at 5.30 and an alarm clock going off at 5am. Normally we start serving breakfast at 7.30am which means a 6.15 rise so today was an exception to our rule.

We get several guests coming to the races at Wincanton, sometimes because they own a hoof or an eyelash in a horse based at the champion trainer's Paul Nicholls yard at nearby Ditcheat or because they are Jockey Club members or, as in the case of this couple, they've got it into their heads to visit all 59 racecourses in the country of which Wincanton is in the top 11. "It was bloody chilly," they announced. It's on top of a hill and can certainly be brass monkeys at times especially if the wind is whistling through but it never ceases to dampen the enthusiasm of those attending and the locals who come out en masse on Boxing Day.

Racing the Ukrainian flag
Rupert Anton of the Anton Family. His racing colours are the same as the Ukrainian flag. He certainly makes sure he stands out on racedays even with his coat lining

One of our most memorable Wincanton set of guests was the Anton Family who came to stay as they horse Wynn House was being raced at Wincanton. The family were new to racing at the time and had only taken it up to commemorate Anton family senior's (Rupert) parents who had died in quick succession of each other thanks to alzheimers. He bought two racehorses in memory of them, one named Wynn House after the family home and the other Better For Everyone as whenever the family take an outing together they reach a universal decision (usually Rupert's) on timings and where to go as it's "better for everyone". At breakfast the table was full of wedding guests as well as the family all of whom decided to bet on Wynn House.

Becoming a Wynn-er, the fabulous racehorse Wynn House
Becoming a Wynn-er, the fabulous chestnut filly Wynn House

We placed a small bet too and when Martin went into town to buy provisions he told deli owner Charlie at Pinsents about the mare and the story behind it. Charlie placed a bet and told his friends and customers about our guests. In the end practically the whole of Castle Cary knew about Wynn House and placed bets small and large. Wynn House lived up to her name and won! That's how we all became Wynn-ers at Wincanton Racecourse. Breakfast the next morning was jubilant.

Having had such an early start, I took the dogs out for a walk up Lodge Hill behind the house on land owned by The Newt in Somerset. It was absolutely freezing but a brilliantly clear day. The house looked glorious illuminated by the rays of the early morning sun. It was worth getting up just to enjoy the sunrise.

Early morning sun at Ellesmere
A chilly early morning start for us at Ellesmere, but it was worth getting up early to enjoy the glorious weather and see the sun illuminating the house


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