Track Talk - 14/04/22

Racing
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14 April 2022

We’ve got a busy week preparing for our Family Race Day on Easter Monday 18th April. 

The gates open at 12 noon and the first of seven races is off at 2pm. There is plenty of family entertainment including fun fair rides, face painters, bouncy castles, donkey rides, go karts, an Easter Egg hunt and free ice creams for the first 250 children. 

Tickets are £22 in advance rising to £25 on the day. Children aged 17 and under go free and parking is free. There is a shuttle bus from Newport and Chepstow Railway Stations with timings available on our website. 

Sam Waley-Cohen, who won the Grand National on Noble Yeats at the weekend, is 
no stranger to Wales.  And Saturday’s epic race is not the only Grand National that Sam has won.  Cardiff’s award-winning racing journalist Brian Lee wrote this story for a local newspaper under the headline “French Horse Wins Grand National” on May 16 2002. 

“Former French steeplechaser Down, owned and trained by Warwickshire's Robert Waley-Cohen, and confidently ridden by his 20-year-old son Sam, landed the Welsh Point-To-Point Grand National at the Pentyrch Hunt Steeplechases at Bonvilston on Saturday.  The 11-year-old gelding, a winner of five races in France in the 1990s, went clear four fences from the finish to win by four lengths from General Custer, with Morebills a distance back in third place.” 

Sam and Down went on to win the race in 2003 and 2004.  On the latter occasion at Bonvilston Dai Jones, father of jockey Ben and now clerk of the course at Ffos Las, rode a treble and Tim Vaughan was aboard the horse that won the maiden race.  

There were Welsh winners on the Thursday and Friday of the Aintree meeting.  The Last Say won the Grade 3 Red Rum Handicap Chase for Evan Williams, Adam Wedge and Mr & Mrs William Rucker.  It was a second course and distance triumph for the useful ten-year-old, whose eight-race chasing career has been punctuated by interruptions of 237, 392 and 353 days.  He’s been difficult to train but repaid connections’ faith this time. 

Mac Tottie’s victory in Friday’s Topham Chase over the big fences for Peter and Sean Bowen (photographed) was further distinguished by the obvious delight of Sean’s brother James.  The horse was normally James’s ride – Mac Tottie had won the Grand Sefton in November with him on board – but here he had been claimed to ride one for the Henderson stable.  That horse unseated him at the first fence.  Watching the race unfold on the big screen, James ran the length of the run-in almost as fast as Mac Tottie to cheer on and greet his brother as he pulled up after the winning post.   

It was Peter Bowen’s fifth success in the race.  Asked about this fine record, he suggested that their practice of loose schooling horses over obstacles at home may have made them better equipped to tackle the National fences. 

Sean Bowen returned to the winners enclosure in contrasting circumstances on Sunday, taking a three-horse race at Stratford by 18 lengths and 40.  Hillview, his mount, is trained by Gary Hanmer, who is having his best season by a long way.  It was his 30th winner of the current campaign; his previous best was eight.  Bowen has played a big part in his success, riding ten of those 30.  Wales’s leading National Hunt jockey is only four winners away from equalling his own record of 91 in a season. 
 

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