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Track Talk By Executive Director Phil Bell - 19/11/22


19 November 2022

We have two fixtures next month – the Christmas Party Race Day on Saturday 3rd December and the Coral Welsh Grand National on Tuesday 27th December. This year we are celebrating 50 years of Coral’s sponsorship of this prestigious race – it’s one of the longest commercial arrangements in UK sport. Ticket information is available on the website. 

The Welsh had some fancied runners in Saturday’s Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham, but it wasn’t their day.  Last year’s winner, the Evan Williams-trained Coole Cody, made a bad mistake early on and Adam Wedge wisely pulled him.  Sam Thomas’s Stolen Silver, the 4/1 favourite, unseated his rider at the third last fence.  Richard Patrick made most of the running on Kerry Lee’s Storm Control, only to fade from the penultimate fence and finish eighth. 

Meanwhile David Probert won on the Lingfield all-weather riding Gurkha Girl, who has had only eight races in three seasons.  The fragile filly won this mile handicap quite easily, and if her trainer Roger Teal can keep her in one piece she should be able to win again.   

Sean Bowen rode his 70th winner of the season, and his tenth for Olly Murphy at Uttoxeter.  Strong Leader had finished first and second in his two bumpers.  He was made odds on for this, his first run over hurdles.  He jumped left on several occasions but was able to outclass his rivals to win fairly comfortably by three lengths.    

Bowen and Murphy combined to go close with a 12/1 shot in a novice hurdle at Cheltenham on Sunday.  Ukantango, who’d won a bumper and his first two outings over timber, looked like winning when taking the lead turning into the straight.  He had to give best to an Irish-trained course and distance winner, and who knows what might have happened if half of the hurdles hadn’t been omitted due to the low sun.   

Having ridden the Grand National winner Noble Yeats to victory recently, Bowen added another unusual triumph to his record last week with a Lingfield all-weather bumper winner for Sir Mark Prescott, whose runners under National Hunt Rules are as rare as hens’ teeth. 

In Cheltenham’s valuable 3m3f chase on Sunday Eva’s Oskar turned in his best ever performance for Tim Vaughan and Alan Johns by finishing second, having always been in the leading group.  After this he should be only a few pounds away from a mark that will get him a run in the Grand National.  Second place here was worth a handy £16,000. 


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