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Track Talk - 15th January 2024

Racing
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15 January 2024

Chepstow’s Six Nations fixture on Saturday 24th February is one of the best value fixtures in the calendar of British racing – it’s just £10 admission if you book in advance.

As well as seven races, both Six Nations rugby internationals will be shown and there’s a Stereophonics tribute band live after racing. If you would like to upgrade, you can purchase Premier Viewing or lunch in The View Restaurant. All the packages are available to view on the website. Less than a month after this fixture, another big attendance is expected for St Patrick’s Race Day on Sunday 17th March.

There’s one more meeting at Chepstow this month on Tuesday 30th January.

David Probert’s (photographed) fine start to the season continues. He rode winners at the two evening meetings at Wolverhampton on Friday and Saturday, and another at Lingfield on Sunday.

Friday’s was ultimately a comfortable success on Charlie Appleby’s debutant Kalidasa, a Frankel colt, sent off the 1/3 favourite. He repaid Godolphin £3,942 of the 2,800,000 guineas they paid for him as a yearling. He is 40/1 for the Derby.

David O’Meara’s filly Musical Diva was a nine-race maiden until Saturday, when Probert rode her for the first time. Competing off her lowest ever mark of 45, she led all the way and won by three lengths at 7/1. Her SP had never been as low before, so connections must have been hopeful that new front-running tactics would work.

Probert was at Lingfield on Sunday principally to ride King’s Vanity for Andrew Balding in a novices stakes. This four-year-old, bought for 150,000 guineas as a yearling, had only run once – starting slowly but making ground at the end under tender handling.

He settled the 10/11 favourite in second, shadowing his main rival Alexandretta. They both sped up round the home turn, but King’s Vanity couldn’t handle the tight bend and swung very wide, leaving Alexandretta in a two-length lead. Yet Probert wasn’t worried; he calmly straightened King’s Vanity, got him running again and won without putting him under much pressure.

Afterwards he told Matt Chapman on Sky Sports Racing that the horse had the size and scope to do better over a mile and beyond. Chapman then got him to admit he’d recently become engaged, and exhorted the crowd to cheer him as he went back into the weighing room.

It was Probert’s eighth winner of the year, keeping him joint top of the flat jockeys’ table.

With over 1,500 career winners to his credit, there are only eight others currently riding who have ridden more than him.

James Bowen maintained his 30% strike rate when riding Gentle Slopes to victory at Kempton. This was the horse’s first outing for Nicky Henderson, having won two bumpers for Milton Harris last season. He showed no signs of a 377 day absence, coming out on top after a good tussle from the last hurdle. The stewards decided that a slight bump that Gentle Slopes gave his opponent did not affect the result, even though there was only a nose between them at the line.

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