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


23 November 2022

It’s now just over a month until our biggest meeting of the year – the £150,000 Coral Welsh Grand National on Tuesday 27th December. It’s the first time since 2019 that spectators will be allowed to attend after Covid rules sent the 2020 and 2021 renewals behind closed doors. We’re expecting a bumper crowd in excess of 10,000 people and ticket sales are going strongly. It also boosts the attendance when the fixture falls on a Bank Holiday, which is the case this year.  Hospitality is virtually sold out but we do have one package still available in our luxury marquee and details are available on the website. 

All the team at the racecourse are excited about the Lionel Ritchie (Friday 30th June) and George Ezra (Sunday 2nd July) concerts we are hosting next summer. These shows are taking place without any horse racing. Tickets are available via the Ticketmaster website. 

There were few complaints for Welsh racing supporters about the small fields at Ascot on Saturday. 

The five expected runners for the 1965 Chase were reduced to two due to concerns about the going.  The outsider of the pair that remained was the Evan Williams-trained veteran Coole Cody who was pulled up at Cheltenham last week. His jumping at Ascot left something to be desired but his sole rival Saint Calvados ran out of steam in the last two or three furlongs.  Coole Cody motored past him and trotted up by ten lengths.  The decision not to persevere with him in the Cheltenham race paid dividends at Ascot – netting his owners a prize of £39,865.   

Lorcan Williams rode the easiest winner of his career in the second race on the Ascot programme, which became a walkover when four of the five declared runners were withdrawn.  He was partnering Milan Bridge for Paul Nicholls in a 3m novices chase, but instead of jumping 20 fences all he had to do was go down to the landing side of the final fence, turn and canter along the run-in and pass the winning post.  Williams’ other rides yielded a second and a third, so it wasn’t a bad day at the office for him.   

On Sunday at Uttoxeter James Davies had fortune on his side when riding Boys Of Wexford in his debut over fences.  The 16/1 shot – backed from 40/1 the night before – made the running, jumping badly to the right at times, till being passed by a horse that was travelling much better at the fourth last fence.  However, that one came down at the next and left Boys Of Wexford back in front.  Davies was in no mood to throw away the second chance and the horse stayed on determinedly to break his duck. 

Lisnagar Oscar, the Rebecca Curtis-trained winner of the Stayers Hurdle in 2020, has been retired.  He had shown smart form as a novice in 2018/19, only to disappoint when tried over fences the next season.  Relishing a return to the smaller obstacles, he finished third in the Cleeve Hurdle before producing far and away his best effort in a strongly-run Stayers Hurdle.  The odds on favourite Paisley Park, going for his eighth consecutive win, was well beaten.   

Since then Lisnagar Oscar was rarely able to show his best form and Curtis (photographed) suspects a heavy fall in the 2021 Stayers Hurdle affected his confidence subsequently.  

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