We are hoping our next fixture at Chepstow on Saturday 5th June will be the last without spectators in attendance. We have now been racing behind closed doors for a year although racehorse owners have been back with us on and off in the last eight months.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed that positive news will come on June 4th, the day of the next Welsh Government update on the road map out of Covid.
It is likely that timings for the return of spectators to sports grounds will be announced on this date so we’re hoping to see customers at one of our later June meetings. Keep an eye on our social media feeds and our website for the latest news.
Monmouthshire trainer David Evans, who operates from a yard close to Abergavenny, has struck a rich vein of form.
His two-year-old filly Choux made a winning debut at Thirsk last week having been the subject of a gamble from 40-1 into 100-30 in the space of just ten minutes before the race. The daughter of Exceed And Excel won easily under jockey Shane Kelly.
On Saturday, Evans sent Rohaan to Haydock for the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes and the gelding took the £51,000 first prize by a nose from Dragon Symbol. The starting price was 33-1, which is remarkable given the three-year-old won the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes at Ascot recently.
Good luck to five times Welsh champion lady point to point rider Jodie Hughes who has announced her retirement from the saddle. She had around 500 rides and rode 90 winners - 78 in point to points and 12 under rules.
She started riding aged 16, racing alongside the likes of Dai Jones (now clerk of the course at Ffos Las), Evan Williams and Bridget Lewis. In the last few years, she’s been riding alongside their children Ben Jones, Isabel Williams and Anna Lewis!
Her first winner was on her father’s horse Sip Of Brandy at Ludlow in a hunter chase in 2003. One of her most memorable wins was beating Tony McCoy at Worcester in a two mile hurdle at odds of 100-1 on Panache for Angela Clarke.
Her last win under rules was at Cartmel in July 2018 for trainer Peter Bowen on Wells De Lune in a ladies’ hurdle race (photographed). Among the highlights of her career were nine wins on the recently retired Patricktom Boru.
Her final ride was in a handicap hurdle at Southwell on Morehurrylesshaste, owned by her father, last Wednesday.
Finally, I was fortunate to attend the premiere of the new movie Dream Horse on Sunday evening in Blackwood. The Warner Bros film is based on the rags to riches story of 2009 Coral Welsh Grand National winner Dream Alliance who, after being raised on an allotment, overcame a serious racing injury to win the biggest race in Wales. It opens in cinemas on Friday 4th June.