Track Talk - 05-12-23


05 December 2023

Our next meeting at Chepstow is this Saturday 9th December where the highlight is the £25,000 Coral Welsh Grand National Trial. The race distance is a fraction short of three miles (six furlongs less than the big event on Wednesday 27th December). 

Two of the last three winners, Secret Reprieve and Iwilldoit, went on to take the Coral Welsh Grand National itself. Both were trained in Wales by Evan Williams and Sam Thomas respectively. There will be a Christmas party atmosphere on Saturday and a Tom Jones tribute act will be performing after racing. Tickets are available in advance and on the day.

Hopefully the season’s leading jockey, Sean Bowen, will be in action at Chepstow. He had three favourites to ride for Olly Murphy at Bangor last Saturday, but even with the assistance of several late withdrawals they had to settle for just one winner.  He’s now on 108 for the season – that’s 30 ahead of Harry Cobden.

Act Of Authority made all in the novice hurdle.  On form he deserved to be sent off at odds of 1/6 but as Bowen said later, though he has plenty of ability he is not straightforward.  He soon established a big lead, briefly looked like he might be overhauled three out, but then went away again to win by seven lengths. 

Saturday's racing at Doncaster survived an inspection, but in a way the weather improved too much. The sun came out and its lowness prevented any jumping in the home straight all afternoon. One beneficiary of this, however, was Connor Brace, who rode Mistral Blue to victory in a two and a half mile mares’ race that required only four hurdles to be jumped.  She fluffed the last of them, about a mile from the finish, and came under pressure from her rider.  With no more obstacles, Mistral Blue built up a head of steam and won by 16 lengths. 

Motorists had been advised not to travel in the northwest on Sunday because of bad weather and the Carlisle meeting suffered from 24 non-runners.  Undaunted, Ben Jones (photographed) made the journey for one ride for Lancashire trainer Chris Kellett, and it won.  Begoodtoyourself had won one chase out of 28, but this was only his sixth try over hurdles.  Three miles was clearly too far last time, whereas today’s two and a half was just right. Kellett had had just two winners from 68 runners over jumps in the last five years but this horse was fancied at 3/1.  There are now only two months since March 2019 when Jones has had rides and failed to get a winner. 

No flat meetings were scheduled between 25 November and 4 December, so as to give jockeys and their families a break.  David Evans resumed with runners at Wolverhampton on Monday and David Probert is due to return at Kempton on Wednesday evening.  He rides Another Romance for Harry and Roger Charlton in a £50,000 Listed race at 7.30.

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