Red Devils parachute jump is highlight of Soldiers’ day at Haydock
The sun was shining for the two-day fixture at Haydock Park on 25-26th May celebrating the local armed forces units and supporting the ABF Soldiers Charity.
Top sprinter Battaash wowed the bumper crowd of 8,000 on the Saturday by taking the feature race, the Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes for the Lambourn trainer Charlie Hills.
Off the track, the day got off to a flying start with eight Red Devils parachuting onto the racecourse with a variety of flags, including The ABF Soldiers Charity, a Union Jack and one for The Jockey Club.
The first jumper, Alistair Hodgson, Ambassador for the Soldier’s Charity and double amputee experienced a very unique jump. “I actually fell out the plane when I was getting ready to jump and exited one mile shorter than intended. I landed in a nearby football field; it was a perfect landing albeit not on the track!! I walked round the circuit of the field and saw a young girl jumping on a trampoline in her garden so asked her to get her dad who very kindly brought me back to the racecourse!”
Following the Red Devils, racegoers watched an impressive Spitfire flypast as racing got underway. The military village was packed with great activities including a climbing wall, inflatables, artillery units and lots more for children and families to enjoy. The Lancashire Artillery Volunteers Band, the 103 Regiment Royal Artillery Pipes and Drums and the Royal Air Force Cadets Band performed throughout the racecourse.
The QIPCO British Champions Series ‘Pony Club’ were present in the Military Village giving youngsters the opportunity to discover and learn about the sport; meet an ex-racehorse and have a tour of Haydock Park. Many youngsters were keen to earn their Horseracing Certificate in a bitesize lesson at the Jockey School.
Jason Fildes, General Manager of Haydock Park Racecourse said: “We have had a superb afternoon, the sun was shining and lots of families have been here enjoying the Military and Pony Club activities. The RAF Spitfire was unbelievably low over the course and was thrilling to watch.
“It was a tense moment watching the Red Devils parachute onto the track after the first man out, Alistair, landed in a nearby football field. However, I was pleased to see the rest of the team land on the track…it was a very impressive display!”