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Track Talk - 28/02/23


28 February 2023

Our Six Nations Race Day at Chepstow last Saturday proved exceptionally popular with a crowd approaching 3500 in attendance. Clearly for many, the result of the rugby wasn’t ideal but the atmosphere was vibrant and with more than 90 runners in the seven races, the action on the track was exciting. Our next race meeting is Mothering Sunday 19th March and there is an afternoon tea package on sale which is ideal if you would like to treat your Mum – details are on the website. We also race on Thursday 23rd March. 

Saturday’s two biggest races both went to Wales. 

The day’s most valuable prize, Kempton’s Coral Trophy, went to Our Power for Sam Thomas and the all-Welsh owners partnership of Dai Walters and James and Jean Potter. 

He ran on well under Sam Twiston-Davies (photographed) to hit the front on the run-in and score by a neck. He was only the fourth runner this month for the yard. He’d finished third in this race last year, won at Ascot in the autumn on his only start this season. Mrs Thomas greeted Our Power in the winners enclosure, as Sam was at the rugby. He’s entered in the Ultima at Cheltenham and the Grand National. On the basis of this performance he’s a few pounds well in at the weights, but he is unlikely to make the top 40 that will be able to run at Aintree. 

At Newcastle Christian Williams took the Eider Chase for the second year in a row. The four mile one furlong marathon went to Kitty’s Light, at 7/4 the shortest price favourite in that race since 1995. His backers couldn’t have been too confident most of the way, for his jumping wasn’t always perfect and he was on and off the bridle. But he has great stamina, and steadily made up ground in the finishing straight. He was driven ahead in the last hundred yards by Jack Tudor, who did well to stay on board with his saddle starting to slip. Kitty’s Light was second in the Scottish National in 2022, but Williams mentioned the Bet365 Chase at Sandown as this year’s end of season target. 

Ben Jones rode the runner-up, another stout stayer, The Galloping Bear. The result might have been different if he hadn’t fluffed the last fence. At least Jones had the satisfaction of riding Endless Escape to victory earlier on the Newcastle card. It was the mare’s fourth consecutive novice hurdle win, all ridden by Jones. She has options at Cheltenham and at Fairyhouse in April, but she needs cut in the ground to be most effective.

There were three more Welsh successes at Chepstow. 

Sean Bowen was a fortunate winner of the opening event, a 2m maiden hurdle. His mount, the odds-on Rambo T, seemed booked for second when the two-length leader fell at the final flight. Left well clear, he was able to stroll home 17 lengths and 23 ahead of the rest.

In the 2m handicap hurdle Bernard Llewellyn’s big grey Zambezi Fix won for the first time in three years. Frustratingly, he’d been a runner-up six times since joining the yard, so he was overdue a change of fortune. He cruised into contention approaching the second last and after a protracted duel he came out on top by a neck. Though his jockey Robert Williams doesn’t ride often nowadays he showed no signs of rustiness on this, just his ninth ride of the season and his first winner. 

In the 2m4f chase Richard Patrick made nearly all the running on the Kerry Lee-trained Eaton Collina. Three out he was headed by another horse going much better, but Eaton Collina fought back and outstayed him to win by three lengths with 34 back to the pair’s toiling rivals. 

At Hereford on Sunday Patrick won the bumper on Henry Daly’s Mikimoto, a four-year-old making his first racecourse appearance. The youngster, carrying twelve pounds less than his older opponents via the weight for age allowance, was given kid glove treatment by his jockey but pulled away on the run-in to score nicely. It’s been Patrick’s best ever start to a calendar year, for these were his ninth and tenth winners of 2023

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