RACEHORSE trainer Mike Lurcock has become a regular sight on Saunton Beach in the past few months as he exercises his charges before they go on to compete at Exeter, Taunton and even Aintree. Mike, City Racing Club and five jump horses plus one which co

RACEHORSE trainer Mike Lurcock has become a regular sight on Saunton Beach in the past few months as he exercises his charges before they go on to compete at Exeter, Taunton and even Aintree.Mike, City Racing Club and five jump horses - plus one which competes on the flat - have set up home at rented stables near Berrynarbor.City Racing is Jockey Club licensed, but Mike describes what he does as "a hobby". He competes at amateur level, runs the club so that others can own part shares in the horses and a significant percentage of winnings go to charity.In the summer he is occupied with running the Woodlands Hotel in Ilfracombe, which he and an uncle own, while winter is consumed with racing and training. But amateur doesn't mean "amateurish," with each horse racing eight to 10 times per season, depending on fitness - look out for two-year-old Dashing Patriarch (Squidge to his friends) in the famous Epsom Derby this year.And tomorrow (Thursday) conditions permitting Red Hot Filly Pepper - Avril - will be competing over the jumps at the races in Taunton.At the weekend City Racing donated £200 to the Ilfracombe Rock Against Child Pornography gig, proceeds of which are going to the NSPCC, a charity which recently received £2,000 from the club.So how does it work? A membership fee gets you a one per cent ownership in the equine of your choice, an owner's handbook, photo, regular updates on your horse's career, the opportunity to visit them often and, almost always, free winners' tickets when your horse is racing."It's a genuine sports club, I enjoy it as a hobby and that's why we set the club up," said Mike."I have worked in quite a few race yards - Robert Allner and Mike Bell for example - as well as ridden at Newmarket quite a bit."But at amateur level you won't get rich! For me it's about getting to the races and training the horses, although of course you want to do your best and get a placing if you can."For many it's a day out and I just love riding, getting over the jumps: for me it's about the most fun you can have with your clothes on!"Find out more about City Racing Club or an opportunity to visit the stables at Bodstone Barton, by going to www.cityracingclub.com or telephone 07973 418257