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Under-fire Worcester gets healthy turnout for Monday action despite criticism

Stinging criticism from leading jumps trainer Alan King about how owners were treated at a recent meeting at Worcester has not deterred his counterparts from being represented at the track on Monday, with 70 horses declared for the card.

King and others were left fuming two Saturdays ago when connections were hosted in a temporary facility to accommodate racegoers on a busy ladies' day fixture.

King described the situation as appalling and disgusting, and was backed up by Warren Greatrex, who suggested some of his owners would think twice about entering there, while owner Wayne Clifford said Worcester was the worst track to which he had been.

However, the Arena Racing Company-managed circuit has drawn a healthy number of declarations for Monday with only the novice chase and bumper not attracting eight or more runners among the seven races.

Tim Vaughan is responsible for two of those as League Of His Own contests the novice handicap chase and No No Mac runs in the 2m4f handicap hurdle.

Vaughan said: "It is what it is, but people keep running there and they have more entries than anywhere because people like the track. The fields always stand up. We can make all the fuss in the world and if you don't want to go there, don't, but some people just want to win races.

"Some owners don't care, some do, and I've got to a point where you just truck on and you do what you do.

"There's no question in comparison to other tracks that it's not the same quality, but to be perfectly blunt the owners of my two horses weren't worried about running at Worcester."

Vaughan suggested taking suitable opportunities for horses to win – the result of recent race-planning changes – was an overriding factor in deciding where to run. 

"Someone's mentioned it now and they're right - I agree 100 per cent with them - but Worcester has been the same for years," he said.

"What the facilities and the track are like are, to a point, irrelevant because you've got to give your horse its best chance of winning, so it's a difficult one. I'm not defending the track at all, and would you prefer better owners' and trainers' facilities? Of course you would."

Charlie Longsdon had two runners at the under-fire fixture and returns with three on Monday.

"It wasn't ideal last week and I'm sure Worcester will have learned their lesson very quickly," he said.

"They'll go out of their way to look after everyone, I'm sure. People made their point after the last meeting and we should let them get on with being a racecourse now."

Longsdon, who thought Kilfinichen Bay might be on an attractive mark if he can put some below-par hunter chase efforts behind him, added: "It's a fantastic track, a nice, big galloping course, and Worcester simply got it wrong last time.

"Simple as, everyone knows it, but we move on and I'm pretty sure they won't make the same mistakes."

Racegoers also contacted the Racing Post after the last meeting – Worcester's busiest of the year – to voice their displeasure, one writing: "There were too far many people allowed in the centre of the course, you couldn't swing a cat in there, and there wasn't a blade of grass to sit on with people walking out after the second race as you couldn't move."

Following the criticism, a spokesman for Arc said: "We're in touch with the owners and trainers who registered their legitimate concerns and whose complaints we're taking seriously."

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