Track Talk With Executive Director Phil Bell - 04/01/22


04 January 2022

Our first meeting of 2022 this Thursday 6th January will take place behind closed doors in line with the Welsh Government Covid regulations announced before Christmas. We have significantly boosted prize money for our jump fixtures in January, February and March with Thursday’s meeting worth £87,000.

We are expecting an update from the Welsh Government on the return of spectators in the next few days. Our next fixture is on Monday 17th January and we hope our customers will be able to return by then.

Welsh jockeys made hay around the country at the weekend.

At Cheltenham on Saturday Richard Patrick won the opener on Hillcrest for Henry Daly.  He finished so strongly that one of the novice hurdles at the Festival is now on the agenda.  Losing his claim a few months ago hasn’t stopped Patrick’s progress. He is getting plenty of rides from Daly, Kerry Lee and Michael Scudamore and with 19 winners in the last quarter of 2021, he is only three away from equalling his best ever season

The £100,000 handicap chase was won by the mare Vienna Court, owned by Bangor racecourse director James Potter and his wife Jean.  They also have horses in partnership with Dai Walters, notably Before Midnight, an association which helped them win the award for 2021 Welsh Horse Racing Owner of the Year. 

Lorcan Williams rode a double at Exeter on Broken Halo for Paul Nicholls and Kissesforkatie, trained by Jeremy Scott.  Williams is another jockey for whom losing his claim has had no ill effects; he had six rides at Exeter for five different trainers. Also on that card Alan Johns (photographed) rode Le Milos to win for Tim Vaughan. 

There’s rarely a Fakenham meeting without Christian Williams runners, and his fine record there was enhanced by Barden Bella’s win on Saturday.  It completed a double for Jack Tudor who won aboard Here Comes Henry for trainer Stuart Edmunds.

David Probert finished 2021 with 170 winners, smashing his previous personal best by 58 and earning more than £2m in prize money for the owners of his mounts.  He picked up where he left off at Southwell by winning on the odds-on Arriviste.

On Sunday James Bowen scored on Nashville Nipper at Plumpton and on Monday he went all the way to Musselburgh to score aboard Holmes St Georges for Irish trainer Stuart Crawford. He’s now ridden 44 winners this season, more than he achieved in either of the last two campaigns.

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