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Track Talk From Phil Bell - Oct 31st 2022


01 November 2022

It’s been an exciting few days following the announcement of two major concerts at the racecourse next summer. We welcome Lionel Ritchie on Friday 30th June and George Ezra on Sunday 2nd July. Another major artist will be announced for Saturday 1st July in due course. There is no racing on these days and the concerts will take place in the centre of the racecourse away from the main Grandstands. We are working in partnership with Live Nation and all tickets are available from Ticketmaster. 

This Thursday 3rd November we will be celebrating the success of our sport with the ROA sponsored Welsh Horse Racing Awards taking place at ICC Wales. The categories include leading chaser, hurdler, flat horse, owner, trainer, stable staff and breeder.  It promises to be a great celebration of Welsh horse racing. 

Lorcan Williams had a great day at Ascot on Saturday, riding two winners, although it could easily have been four.  In the race featuring the enigmatic Goshen, he was on the Paul Nicholls-trained Samarrive and going slightly better than the rival who jumped the penultimate fence alongside him.  Samarrive came down and left the other one well clear.   

Compensation came an hour later when he rode stablemate Thyme White to win a valuable 2m handicap chase.  This horse’s form last season, 2U12F, meant an interesting ride one way or the other was almost guaranteed, but he jumped well this time and hit the front between the last two fences.  

Williams looked set to complete a double in the best race on the Ascot card, a 3m handicap chase, when he drove another Nicholls horse, Danny Kirwan into the lead turning into the straight.  But it was not to be, as he was outstayed by Our Power, who ran on strongly to lead half a furlong out.  The winner is owned by Dai Walters and trained by Sam Thomas, and he could now get in amongst the bottom weights for the Coral Gold Cup (the old Hennessy) at the end of November. Christian Williams’ Kitty’s Light was never in the hunt – this trip is below his optimum – but finished the race well enough in sixth place. 

Lorcan Williams bounced back to complete his double in the bumper on Fire Flyer, a four-year-old making his debut, having changing hands for 130,000 euros in June 2021. 

David Brace’s Paint The Dream, ridden by his grandson Connor, ran a fine race in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.  He led the field into the straight, but couldn’t hope to match Bravemansgame on top form and finished 13 lengths behind in fourth place.  Untested over three miles, his stamina may have given out after leading for most of the second circuit.   

Sean Bowen (photographed) was at Ayr to ride several Gordon Elliott horses.  He won on the shortest-priced one, Nonbinding, who alarmed his backers at 11/8 by scrambling home only by a neck. 

Bowen went to Wexford in Ireland on Monday to ride this year’s Grand National winner, Noble Yeats for the first time.  His seasonal appearance at Auteuil a few weeks ago was an unsatisfactory affair, pulling up after an early mistake. He made amends on Monday with a comfortable success and his odds for a repeat win at Aintree next year have been reduced to 12-1. 

Sam Thomas’s good weekend continued at Carlisle on Sunday with the victory of Good Risk At All, another Dai Walters horse.  He’d come either first or second in his first seven outings, but could only manage sixth last time in a Grade 1 at Aintree.  Back in handicap company, two and a half miles on heavy ground with an uphill finish was well within his compass.   

Adam Wedge was at Carlisle to ride the 2020 Welsh National winner Secret Reprieve for Evan Williams in only his third start since.  Though he finished last of the nine-strong field, he ran perfectly well for 90% of the way and his jockey wasn’t hard on him at the end.  He can still be a live contender for a repeat win at Chepstow on 27 December. 

Wedge picked up a useful extra in the 2m4f novice hurdle, Grove Road, for the predominantly flat trainer Archie Watson.  His mount drifted from 15/8 in the morning to 13/2, but he stayed on gamely to beat a Skelton hotpot. 

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