Track Talk - 02/01/2023


03 January 2023

A crowd of more than 10,000 packed the enclosures for last week’s £150,000 Coral Welsh Grand National. The winner, The Two Amigos, had finished 5th and 2nd in previous renewals of the race, so clearly likes Chepstow’s soft winter ground – and a marathon trip. His trainer Nicky Martin and Welsh jockey David Prichard would not be household names in jump racing but that’s the beauty of the sport – some of the smaller operators can be successful on the big stage. It was great to see trainer Joseph O’Brien bring Comfort Zone over from Ireland to win the Grade 2 Finale Juvenile Hurdle. He’s a horse very much on an upward curve and it’ll be interesting to see his progress. 

The next Chepstow meeting is this Sunday 8th January with seven races from 12.40pm – tickets are £15 in advance and £19.50p on the day. 

There were double Williams doubles on Saturday, a day of six Welsh winners. 
Evan Williams and Adam Wedge were in the Uttoxeter winners enclosure twice. Henry Box Brown broke his maiden at the tenth attempts in a 2m hurdle. An hour later stablemate Can You Call, bearing the Rucker colours, comfortably won the 2m 4f hurdle. 

At Warwick Lorcan Williams, who has been doing so well on Paul Nicholls’ horses when Harry Cobden is riding elsewhere, rode two winners for the thriving Ben Pauling yard. Unit Sixtyfour won a 2m chase easily. Later that afternoon Mister Watson won a 2m4f chase in which only four of the nine starters completed. 

There was more Williams joy between those races when Lord Snootie won the long distance hurdle for Christian Williams and Jack Tudor. On the face of it, running over almost seven furlongs further than his previous three outings was an eyecatching ploy, but prior to that the horse had stayed on well to win a point-to-point. 

The Warwick card concluded with Richard Patrick driving Henry Daly’s Bowenspark to a hard-fought victory by a neck in the bumper. He successfully defied a penalty, which is a rare occurrence. 

Patrick and Daly combined again to take the second race at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day with Rapper. He won the 3m2f chase by eight lengths to confirm the fine form of the stable. 

Lorcan Williams rode his third winner of the weekend in the Cheltenham bumper by steering the 8/15 favourite Wrappedupinmay, trained by Paul Nicholls, to a runaway 24 length victory. 

David Probert ended 2022 with 144 winners. That was his second best year – he amassed 169 in 2021, which will be very difficult to surpass – but in terms of prize money this was by far his most successful year, earning over £2.7 million. He rode 758 different horses for 144 trainers in 1,146 races. 

His biggest earner was, unusually, a loser; £345,000 came from Hoo Ya Mal’s second place in the Derby. Otherwise, riding Sandrine regularly for Alpinista’s owner Kirsten Rausing yielded £288,000 and the Doncaster Cup winner Coltrane a further £255,000.

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