Track Talk- 20th November


21 November 2023

The countdown is well and truly on to Christmas and our busy festive period including the Coral Welsh Grand National on Wednesday 27th December. The entries include horses from all the leading yards in Britain and Ireland with Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins both represented. Gordon has entered Dunboyne, Frontal Assault, Gevrey and Minella Crooner while Willie has pencilled in Mr Incredible for the trip over the Irish Sea. Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls, Jonjo O’Neill and Venetia Williams also have a number of entries.

The Evan Williams-trained Minella Missile at Cheltenham last Friday was the hundredth winner for his owner Janet Davies. He was helped by Adam Wedge’s (photographed) decision to stick to the inside turning into the home straight rather than fan out wide. The horse had won a few weeks earlier at Chepstow. Coincidentally the starting price on both occasions was 22/1. Janet’s best horse to date was Court Minstrel, who won the Wasdell Group Silver Trophy at Chepstow twice. It’s hard enough to own one winner, let alone a hundred. 27 of them have come at Ffos Las.

On Sunday Classic Lord, a four-time winner on the flat for Andrew Balding, won at Fontwell on his third start for Tim Vaughan. Alan Johns sent him six lengths clear at the end of the back straight and the result was in little doubt from then. He was the form horse, but thanks to a gamble on the runner-up, SP punters were pleased with 16/5 considering he was forecast to go off at 7/4.

The Bowen brothers had a winner each at Uttoxeter on Saturday. Sean repeated October’s course and distance win on Olly Murphy’s Booster Bob. Last time they won by a length on good to soft, this time by 18 on heavy, conceding between seven and fourteen pounds to the opposition and giving odds-on backers no cause for alarm at all. A step up in grade beckons.

That was Sean’s hundredth winner of the season. Earlier in the week he rode a Lingfield double that included a 125/1 shot. It was part of a Manchester punter’s £3 Lucky 15 bet that also featured a 150/1 winner. It won him £77,000.

Fittingly, James Bowen’s success came aboard a horse called James Jet. Winners have been elusive since he returned from injury – this was just his fourth in two months – so it was particularly satisfying that after making the running and forfeiting the lead two out, he galvanised James Jet to fight back and get his head in front in the last few strides.

David Probert continues to excel on the all-weather and he rode a double at Lingfield on Saturday. The five-year-old Raqraaq got off the mark at the 17th attempt in a mile handicap. He never made it to the racecourse for his previous owners, the Shadwell Stud, when aged two and three and only now is this slow developer starting to show some form. Probert has ridden 36 winners over the years for trainer Patrick Chamings. Only Andrew Balding and Ron Harris have supplied him with more.

Later on the card Probert steered Andrew Balding’s debutant Popcorn Magic to a cosy victory in a race for novices over a mile and a quarter. The second, third and fourth, from big stables, all had some racing experience under their belts, so this colt’s performance was very promising – especially for anyone that fancied him at 10/1.

Chepstow Racecourse

Racecourse logo

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest news, events and special offers direct to your inbox.