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Track Talk - 13/03/23


13 March 2023

Welsh jockey Connor Brace (photographed) registered one of the biggest winners of his career last Saturday when Crambo took the EBF Novices’ Hurdle Final at Sandown. Both horse and rider showed great determination in the closing stages to secure the £45,000 first prize for owners Chris Giles and Sullivan Bloodstock. 

They’d taken up the running passing the winning post first time round, and despite being headed going to the second last, they regained the lead on the run-in and held off runner-up Inneston by half a length. The winner is trained by Fergal O’Brien. 

It was a welcome Saturday winner for Brace, who is now 5-5 on Crambo. He is attached to O’Brien’s yard, where there is stiff competition for rides with Paddy Brennan and up-andcoming conditionals who can claim. “In the position I'm in you need horses like him to get these good rides on Saturday and hopefully we can keep the strike-rate going," said Brace. "Obviously, I would love to be at Cheltenham next week, but you have to go where you can get winners and where my boss wants me.”

Brace’s biggest wins to date have been the Scottish Champion Hurdle on Nicky Henderson’s Verdana Blue and last year’s Greatwood Gold Cup riding his grandfather’s Paint The Dream. He is also the jockey who partnered John Flint’s Blaze A Trail to five consecutive wins last year.

David Probert scored at Chelmsford on Saturday aboard John Jenkins’ Sir Rodneyredblood. It was the second time he’d won on him. Sir Rodney is one of those horses that accumulate a stack of victories on all-weather tracks while gaining little or no recognition in the wider racing world. This was his 12th win in 67 starts, his 11th on the all-weather, his sixth at Chelmsford, and yet he was only rated 62. He’s a six-year-old and there’s time for many more visits to the winners enclosure. 

Sean Bowen’s alliance with Olly Murphy continues to bear fruit and they won with Halondo at Market Rasen on Sunday. Halondo stayed on much the best of his rivals in a 2m4f handicap hurdle to win by 13 lengths. He carried the colours of Mrs Diana Whateley, whose string of good horses over the years included Menorah and Rock The Kasbah. Murphy and Bowen have Strong Leader in the Supreme at Cheltenham on Tuesday and despite his form figures of 12111 you can get 33/1 about him. 

Sheila Lewis’ gallant grey Volcano won the 3m5f chase at Warwick. He kept up a good gallop in testing ground and although four opponents were snapping at his heels turning into the straight he drew away to score by five lengths. He was the 9/4 favourite to win this race for the third year in a row, and it was his fifth course success all told, with Ben Jones in the saddle on each occasion. Watch out for him on this weekend in 2024. Stablemate Straw Fan Jack takes his chance in the Arkle at Cheltenham on Tuesday where he is a 66-1 chance. 

Our next meeting at Chepstow is this Mothering Sunday 19th March when we have seven races from 1.30pm. Tickets are £18 in advance and £22.50p on the day. We still have places available for lunch in The View restaurant and there is also an afternoon tea package in a private suite overlooking the course. We also race on Thursday 23rd March

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