Peter Bowen (photographed) landed July’s jumping highlight, the £55,000 Summer Plate at Market Rasen, for the eighth time on Saturday. Francky Du Berlais was winning for the second year in a row, off just two pounds higher. Bowen first won it 25 years ago with the prolific Stately Home, who the season before won ten races. The 325 mile journey from the Haverfordwest yard to Lincolnshire is a tedious one, but is often fruitful; 92 victories there have earned over £1 million in prize money.
Punters latched on the Bowen factor and made Francky Du Berlais 5/1 favourite. Like last year, James Bowen was in the plate. He reported after the race, “He had 12 stone and it was hard work, but he came home well. He probably got his toe in a bit more last year and was rushed off his feet on the first lap this time, but once he got into a rhythm passing a couple he seemed to get his confidence and flew home.”
Stablemate Statuario, ridden by Sean Bowen, was third, beaten only five lengths. Earlier Sean had won the three-runner novice hurdle over 2m4f on Olly Murphy’s Sure Touch. Sean completed a double in the final race at Market Rasen, when bringing Karannelle home by a neck for David Rees, another Pembrokeshire trainer.
Rees has been having a quiet time of it but Karannelle, a seven-year-old mare, has been improving since coming back from a winter break. She had won cosily at Newton Abbot five days earlier under Bowen.
At the time of writing Sean is on 43 winners for the season with Brian Hughes in second place in the championship with 38.
At Newbury David Evans’ high class sprinter Rohaan was attempting to follow up his Wokingham Stakes success at Royal Ascot. His dash through the Hackwood Stakes field brought him to the front about a hundred yards out, only for his effort to peter out and he dropped back to fourth. Evans gained unexpected compensation at Haydock that evening when his two-year-old filly There’s The Door won at 28/1.
Evan Williams doesn’t have many summer jumpers and his maiden On Time is one of the stable’s lesser lights. Nevertheless, the 16/1 outsider of four led all the way to win Newton Abbot’s 3m2f mares-only handicap chase on Sunday, beating three recent winners fair and square.
William Muir, joint trainer of the Welsh-owned Pyledriver, has a dilemma as regards a jockey for his stable star in next weekend’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. Since his regular pilot Martin Dwyer has been unable to ride due to a knee injury Frankie Dettori has been in the saddle, finishing fourth in the Sheema Classic at Meydan and second in the Coronation Cup at Epsom. But now Dettori is going to switch to the Oaks runner-up Emily Upjohn.
The dilemma is a pleasant one, because Muir says he has been “inundated with requests” from jockeys keen to ride Pyledriver in the prestigious Ascot event. P J McDonald has won on him before, has a good record for the stable, and must be a front runner. As well as Emily Upjohn the Irish Derby winner Westover will be in the field, and Pyledriver is among the outsiders at 16/1. However, if he was guaranteed to run up to his very best form those odds would be generous. A decision about the jockey will be made by Thursday.
Our next fixture at Chepstow is Caribbean Night this Friday 22nd July. The first race is 6.05pm and tickets are available in advance and on the night. We have a short break without racing before four fixtures in August on the 18th, 22nd, 29th and 30th.