Saturday 23 October will be a far cry from his regular job for Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) James Avent, when he will be welcomed as guest of honour to the 2010 John Smith’s Armed Forces Raceday at Newbury Racecourse. 


WO2 Avent from the Royal Logistic Corps is a qualified High Threat Improvised Explosive Device Disposal Expert (IEDD) and served during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and since 2008 has spent two lengthy stints in Afghanistan on the front line. 


James will be leading the launch of the Berkshire Poppy Appeal in aid of The Royal British Legion, which will mark the beginning of an action-packed day of seven quality flat races as well as plenty of Armed Forces’ themed entertainment around the racecourse. 

The Royal Navy Raiders’ Parachute Display Team will also be dropping onto the racecourse, kick-starting the day’s entertainment. 

During his latest period serving in Afghanistan in 2009, James was responsible for conducting over 100 operational bomb disposal tasks, rendering safe over 40 IED’s in the process. In the same year, he also passed the High Threat IEDD course, which has a pass rate similar to Special Air Service (SAS) selection in which only the very best pass. 

WO2 James Avent commented: “I am delighted to be supporting this year’s RBL Berkshire Poppy Appeal campaign and hope that the day will help raise awareness of the vital support the RBL provides directly to military personnel and their families. I am also looking forward to having a flutter on the horses and generally enjoying an afternoon of sport in celebration of the Armed Forces.” 

During the afternoon’s racing, featuring the John Smiths Extra Smooth Stakes as well as the John Smiths No Nonsense Stakes, jockeys will be showing their support for the day by wearing RBL armbands.

Visitors will be able get a feel for life in the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force from the various military exhibits as well as the military vehicle (past and present), weapons and aircraft displays. Other activities include an inflatable Army assault course, laser and paintball ranges and a climbing wall, with the day culminating with a traditional after-racing sing-along.

Newbury Racecourse is delighted to welcome military personnel and RBL members for FREE into the Premier Enclosure to this fixture. A discount is also available for these groups in either of the racecourse’s two panoramic restaurants, The Racegoers and the Hennessy Restaurant, as well as private boxes, starting from £35.

In recognition of the ongoing support and respect from residents of Wootton Bassett shown to members of the Armed Forces who are repatriated to near by RAF Lyneham, Newbury Racecourse is also delighted to extend its offer of Free Premier Enclosure tickets to them.

To take advantage of these offers tickets must be booked in advance on 01635 40015 quoting military ID, RBL membership number or postcode.

All are welcome to Armed Forces’ Day, with tickets starting from just £18 and Under 18’s Going Free, for further information visit or call 01635 40015.

Pictured: Bomb Disposal Expert WO2 James Avent takes a break whilst on duty in Afghanistan. James will be the guest of honour at Newbury Racecourse’s Armed Forces’ Raceday on Saturday 23 October 2010.

Allison is the Publisher of Eclipse Magazine. She loves going to the Races and is learning to bet (despite being officially the worst bettor in the History of the Universe), there's a lot more to learn...

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