Track Talk From ED Phil Bell - 21/09/22


21 September 2022

There’s a two-day fixture at our sister course Ffos Las on Saturday 25th and Monday 26th September. The second day is a transfer from Bath where they continue to have challenges with the ground. Further remedial work will now be carried out at Bath to get everything ready for the 2023 season.  

Pyledriver, the best Welsh-owned horse for many years, is set to run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland on 5 November.   

The La Pyle Partnership, consisting of Cardiff-based brothers Guy and Huw Leach and their friend Roger Devlin, have seen their horse come first and second in two Coronation Cups and win this year’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.  

Joint trainer William Muir, who has never been to the USA, reported that the five-year-old had suffered a minor setback that compelled him to withdraw him from the Arc de Triomphe in two weeks.  The Japan Cup, with about £2.5m in prize money, is another option should the horse not be ready for a trip to the States.  The Hong Kong Vase, worth slightly less, is another possibility.  Pyledriver earned £415,000 for finishing second in it last year. 

David Evans is close to having his best ever season in terms of prize money.  His 55 winners this year have netted £642,000, which is £32,000 short of his record total.  That was achieved in 2009, when he had more horses and more winners.  His latest success came at Catterick on Saturday with Portelet Bay, who hadn’t won since July 2021.  He was a beaten favourite in three of his last four races but struck this time at 15/2.   

Portelet Bay is a beauty spot in the Channel Islands, where his owner Trevor Gallienne lives and is President of the Guernsey Racing Club.  He likes to name his racehorses after local places, and another of them, Lihou, is entered in the last race at Goodwood on Thursday.   

Evans also has horses entered at Newmarket that day, notably his five-time winner this season Cuban Breeze.  One of the others, There’s The Door, is owned by Paul and Clare Rooney.  This filly, who cost 80,000 euros as a yearling, won at Haydock in July and has shown decent form since.  Hollie Doyle has been booked to ride her. 

Sean Bowen went to Plumpton for one mount on Sunday.  Lusaka was the early favourite for a maiden hurdle before a couple of non-runners reduced the field to three, but he disappointed by finishing second for the third time in a row.  He was trained by Olly Murphy, for whom Bowen is going to ride more often this season; Murphy has ended his retainer with Aidan Coleman.   

Finally, we are now counting down to the Big Welsh Racing Weekend from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th October. The first two days take place at Chepstow (Unibet Jump Season Opener) with the closing day at Ffos Las (DragonBet Welsh Champion Hurdle). All the details are on the respective websites. This meeting is widely seen as the start of the winter jumping campaign in the UK and the prize money is just under £500,000 across the three days. 

Chepstow Racecourse

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