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Track Talk From Executive Director Phil Bell - 08/11/22


08 November 2022

The thoughts of everyone in Welsh horse racing are with the founder and former chairman of Ffos Las Racecourse, Dai Walters, after he was involved in a helicopter crash last week in North Wales. 77-year-old Mr Walters is in intensive care in hospital. Trainer Sam Thomas was also on board the helicopter but escaped without serious injuries. 

Mr Walters’ chaser Al Dancer scored a dramatic and poignant victory in the Grand Sefton Chase over the Aintree National fences on Saturday. The gelding ran with enthusiasm and was in the lead from Becher’s.  Wayward jumps to the right at the last two fences gave his pursuers hope, and the lightweight Gesskille closed in on him remorselessly on the 494-yard run-in.  The photo revealed that Al Dancer had hung on by a nose.  

A frustrating afternoon for Sean Bowen at Aintree ended happily with Gunsight Ridge’s success in a 2m chase.  The Olly Murphy-trained favourite had enough in hand to overcome mistakes at the fourth last and the last to win decisively.  Earlier Bowen made the running on the market leader Ree Okka in a novice chase, who jumped well at every fence except the final one.  That was enough to cost him the race.  Riding another favourite an hour later, Brewin’upastorm, the horse jinked at the first hurdle and unseated him. 

Doncaster’s meeting on Saturday was the last of the flat season on turf.  David Probert rode Something Enticing to win a mile and a quarter fillies’ race for Andrew Balding.  She’d finished second in it last year.  Most of her best performances had been on soft and good to soft going.  This was her first experience of heavy ground and though she only won by a neck and the same, she was value for a little more.  She is due to go to the December sales.  As this had the status of a Listed race she will now have the desired “black type” in the catalogue, which increases the owners’ chances of getting a good price for her. 

The going at Ffos Las on Sunday was soft, verging on heavy by the end of the afternoon.   

Alminar was having his first outing for Evan Williams in the 3m chase and he was going the best when Adam Wedge (photographed) steered him into the lead two out.  The result was in no doubt from that point. Alminar is a confirmed stayer and had winning course form and on similar testing going, but the 508 day absence since his last run discouraged punters and he was returned at 8/1.  

The 3m hurdle attracted six runners, and Evan Williams supplied three of the horses and two of the jockeys (daughters Isabel and Eleanor) but it was Adam Wedge’s mount Holdbacktheriver that did the best.  He finished second, showing his first bit of form for a long time.   

Our next meeting at Chepstow is our Military Race Day on Friday 18th November with seven races from 12.35pm. We have the Oasis Experience playing live after racing on Christmas Party Race Day, Saturday 3rd December.  


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