‘A one-horse town with 3,000 horses,” as its inhabitants like to say. At first glance, there is little to distinguish the sleepy market town of Newmarket from dozens of other English market towns of the same era. Yet look a little closer and there are clues that Newmarket is the centre of a multibillion-pound racing and breeding industry.
The sun is not yet up over the desert, but already 50 horses and riders are gathered at Qatar's Endurance Village in Al-Wakra, half an hour's drive from the capital Doha. They are gathered to compete in a 120-kilometer (74.5-mile) endurance race, the likes of which are held here most weeks. Masked riders gaze steely-eyed into the desert as their horses crest their necks and paw the ground, eager to get the race under way.
It was a tale of two trainers on Sunday as Venetia Williams and Sue Smith dominated proceedings at Warwick and Market Rasen respectively, landing a hat trick apiece. Williams opened her account in swift fashion by landing the Coln Valley Stud Novices' Hurdle with 2-1 chance Grand Turina, who put recent temperament issues behind her to make all under Charlie Deutsch.