The Welsh horse racing community is in mourning after the tragic death of 37-year-old jockey Lorna Brooke following a fall at Taunton earlier this month. Lorna was airlifted to Bristol’s Southmead Hospital after suffering serious injuries when Orchestrated came down early in the race. She passed away at the weekend.
Lorna, who was based near Llandrindod Wells in Powys, was an amateur rider who rode 17 winners in Britain and Ireland and took more than 400 rides. She also rode 40 point-to-point winners.
Her biggest victory came in the inaugural running of the Ladies Handicap Chase at Fairyhouse in 2015 with 25-1 shot Moonlone Lane for Paul Stafford. She beat top riders such as Katie Walsh, Lizzie Kelly and Rachael Blackmore.
Her passing has shocked the racing community and there will be a minute’s silence at Chepstow’s fixture this Friday evening and jockeys will be wearing black armbands.
Last week, it was announced that the popular chaser Ballyoptic has been retired at the age of eleven. Racegoers loved him – not just for his victories but his hugely game and determined attitude.
Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, he won nine of his 32 career starts including the Grade 1 Sefton Novices' Hurdle at Aintree in 2016 and the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in 2019. His prize money haul was £343,000.
He won the Silver Trophy at Chepstow in 2016 as well as the Native River Chase at the same track in 2019. He also ran several fine races in defeat, coming within a nose of winning the Scottish National at Ayr in 2018 a month after he was fourth behind Presenting Percy in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham.
There is still no news about the return of all spectators to Welsh racecourses and further updates are expected from the Welsh Government in the near future. Please keep an eye on the Chepstow Las website.
Welsh jockey Alan Johns had a rewarding trip to the Scottish Grand National meeting at Ayr on Friday when he rode Aquila Sky to victory for Shropshire trainer and former point to point rider Sam Allwood. The partnership were also successful with Rob The Getaway at Stratford on Sunday.
Pembrokeshire trainer Peter Bowen sent his recent Newbury winner Mac Tottie to Ayr on Sunday and the eight year old ran a great race to finish runner-up in the Class 2 CPMS Novices’ Champion Handicap Chase.
Congratulations to trainer Neil Mulholland who won the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr with Milkwood. The seven year old gelding finished fourth in the Potter Group Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las last October and was a close third in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham last month.