Track Talk - 29th April 2024


29 April 2024

The wait for a Welshman to be crowned champion jump jockey for the first time since the 1950s continues as Sean Bowen finished a gallant runner-up to Harry Cobden in the 2023/24 championship which ended last Saturday.

Sean rode 157 winners, 32 more than his previous best, but fell seven successes short of his rival. It was an incredible effort because he lost seven weeks of the season with a knee injury suffered in a fall at Aintree on Boxing Day. He was 30 winners ahead at the time. His turn will no doubt come.

Cobden had the relentless firepower of the Paul Nicholls yard plus a new determination to seek extra outside rides, which historically hadn’t been part of his game plan. When asked whether he would go for the title again in the new season, Cobden was undecided.

Last Friday night’s Dunraven Bowl Hunter Chase at Chepstow, which this year was not confined to novices, went to the 33/1 shot Castle Daragh trained by David Pipe. This was his jockey Conal Kavanagh’s first ride under National Hunt Rules, only a fortnight after riding his first point-to-point winner. He denied sponsor David Brace, whose runners Gats And Co and Looksnowtlikebrian finished second and third, beaten a neck and three lengths.

Earlier in the evening Wolf Prince, ridden by David’s grandson Connor and trained by Fergal O’Brien, was successful in a handicap hurdle. It was a night to remember for Tim Vaughan’s teenage son Ed who gained his first racecourse victory on Silver In Disguise in a handicap chase. He’d previously ridden plenty of winners in point to points.

Four winners in two days made it a fruitful weekend for David Probert.

He was in double-winning form at Doncaster on Saturday evening. His profitable alliance with Jack Channon continued thanks to Flash Bardot, who gave the combination their fourth success of 2024. The filly won easily off a career high mark of 85. Half an hour later Probert had an even more comfortable ride on Andrew Balding’s Contacto, winning his first venture into a handicap by seven lengths.

Probert took the five-furlong novices’ stakes at Bath the next day, winning on Twisted Tiara for Rod Millman. He completed his second double in two days on Ciara Pearl, the 5/2 favourite in the ten-furlong handicap. Her form figures before this read 212-11 and she won comfortably.

Highly recommended is a short film in which jump jockeys receive end-of-season appraisals from Alan Johns, channelling his inner David Brent in a series of meetings reminiscent of The Office. It is hilarious. Harry Skelton has the best one-liner. Find it by searching social media for Great British Racing Jump Jockey Appraisals.

Finally, the team at Chepstow would like to extend their condolences to the family of Lynne Fletcher who worked for many years at the racecourse hosting and looking after racehorse owners on race days. Lynne passed away last week and will be hugely missed. She was well known in the local area for a variety of community activities and was extremely popular and a huge part of the racecourse team. Race days won’t be the same without her.

Chepstow Racecourse

Racecourse logo

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