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Track Talk - 27th September


27 September 2023

It’s been a quiet spell for a few Welsh racing participants. Thinking of our two top flat horses, Pyledriver has been retired after a prolific and profitable career competing at the top level, and it hasn’t been a great season for Rohaan. That said, David Evans’ sprinter showed signs of a return to form in the Ayr Gold Cup on Saturday. Although only finishing seventh of the 24 runners, he was just a length and three quarters behind the winner, running on at the end.

Rohaan excels at Ascot and connections must be thinking about the Champions Day Sprint on 21 October, but this year’s form means he languishes at 33/1 in the betting. Now aged seven and rated 104, eleven pounds below his peak – achieved when winning the Wokingham at the Royal meeting in 2022 – he should have no chance of success at Group 1 level. However, there are some more feasible races for him at the Ascot fixture on 6-7 October. Evans, without a winner for two and a half weeks, will doubtless be calculating where Rohaan’s best opportunity lies.

Sean Bowen’s great run in the summer came off the rails in the last few weeks. By Saturday he had gone 23 rides without a winner, coinciding with his main stables – those of his father Peter and Olly Murphy – having dry spells. Losing streaks are only to be expected and this is a minor one in comparison to former champion jockey Steve Cauthen. He rode 487 winners one year in America (when a teenager!) prior to partnering 110 losers in a row the following year.

Bowen’s first two rides at Plumpton on Sunday continued this trend, but his best chance was his third mount, Post No Bills, and he obliged in a two mile chase. The runner-up was ridden by James Bowen (photographed), having only his second ride back after an injury in February took much longer to recover than expected. He was having a fairly quiet season prior to that, with just 29 winners, and will be anxious to recover the momentum that brought him 74 in 2021/22.

Chepstow’s Unibet Jump Season Opener is now three weeks away. It’s hoped that one or two Irish trainers will send some horses over to add extra spice to the occasion. As usual, Paul Nicholls should have several leading contenders. Knappers Hill will be one; he has won at this meeting in each of the last three years and may well make it four in a row, as he attempts to begin his novice chasing career with a victory.

There are a wide range of ticket and hospitality packages available and these are all accessed via the website. The day after the two-day fixture at Chepstow is the £50,000 Dragon Bet Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las, the course’s feature race of the season.

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