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It’s Been A Memorable 12 Months For Welsh Jockeys


28 March 2020

It’s been a terrific twelve months for Welsh jockeys, riding winners galore in big televised races. 

It began last spring, when Connor Brace was enjoying a great winning streak.  As he could still claim seven pounds, he was booked by Nicky Henderson to ride Verdana Blue in the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr last April.  They won impressively, breaking the course record in the process.  

On the first weekend in November, Carmarthenshire’s Ben Jones rode Gumball to victory in a valuable Ascot handicap for Philip Hobbs.  At the end of that month he won Newbury’s premier race, the £250,000 Ladbroke Trophy, on Emma Lavelle’s De Rasher Counter.  Before this season Ben had ridden just four winners in two years, but now he’s taken his score to 45.  His father Dai is clerk of the course at Ffos Las. 

In between that notable double Richard Patrick, who rides mostly for Kerry Lee’s Herefordshire stable, urged the mare Happy Diva to a well-deserved triumph in the £150,000 BetVictor Gold Cup.  Winning the feature of Cheltenham’s November meeting was compensation for being brought down when going well in the same race a year earlier.  The same combination went on to be a close second at the Festival in March. 

Just after Christmas Jack Tudor joined the party by driving Potters Corner to victory in the Coral Welsh Grand National.  The jockey, trainer Christian Williams and the owners are all Welsh.   No Welsh trainer had succeeded in the Chepstow spectacular for 54 years.  In February Tudor, riding again for Williams, got Limited Reserve home in a desperate finish to land a £100,000 Sandown handicap. 

The Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter earlier this month gave another Welsh rider, Lorcan Williams, a day to remember when he won aboard Truckers Lodge for eleven times champion trainer Paul Nicholls. The gelding had been runner-up to Potters Corner in the Welsh Grand National. 

Let’s not forget Adam Wedge, who has been a professional jockey for some time and is firmly established with the Evan Williams yard.  He also enjoyed his best season, with 65 winners.  They included his first Grade 1 on Esprit Du Large at Sandown and his first Cheltenham Festival winner on Lisnagar Oscar for Rebecca Curtis in the Stayers’ Hurdle. 

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