Track Talk With Phil Bell - 4th February

Racing
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04 February 2021

Legendary local trainer Milton Bradley, who is based at Sedbury, is retiring at the age of 86. 

He’s been training for more than 50 years and sent out over 1000 winners. He was associated with a string of prolific winners initially over jumps and then on the Flat, including The Tatling, Sooty Tern, Brevity, Grey Dolphin and Offa's Mead. 

The Tatling was claimed for just £15,000 and in a remarkable success story, won 18 races and £700,000 in prize money including the prestigious King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2004. He won his final race at Wolverhampton in 2011 just days before his 15th birthday. 

Milton’s best year in terms of winners was 2005 when he had 70 successes.

During the 1970s, another one of his prolific winners, Mighty Marine won 24 races and won seven consecutive races in the space of five weeks and three days. Grey Dolphin won 10 chases during the 1978/79 season.

Milton, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 Welsh Horse Racing Awards, has been proud of the fact that most of the horses he’s purchased have been ‘modest’ buys. He’s never paid more than £25,000 for a horse, which by modern day standards is relatively cheap.

I’d like to wish him a very happy retirement and on behalf of racing fans across the country, thanks for the memories Milton.

A trawl through the history books has revealed that this year is the 100th anniversary of the Welsh Champion Hurdle. The race was first run in 1921 at Cardiff’s Ely Racecourse over a distance of three miles and was worth £442 to the winning owner. The course closed in 1939.

The race was a prestigious event when run at Chepstow from 1969 with some of the very best hurdlers in the history of the sport taking the prize including Persian War, Bula, Comedy of Errors, Sea Pigeon, Night Nurse, Monksfield and Beech Road. 

Chepstow stopped running the race in 2003 after a series of renewals with small fields but it was resurrected when the course opened at Ffos Las. The first running in West Wales was in 2011 when the winner was Oscar Whisky, owned by the course developer and founder Dai Walters. 

It’s now a two mile event and this year’s centenary will be on Saturday 16th October – hopefully in front of a decent sized crowd.

Both Ffos Las (Thursday) and Chepstow (Friday) race this week live on Sky Sports Racing. The ground is going to be extremely testing at both tracks but the current weather forecast looks favourable in terms of the fixture’s going ahead.

Jockey Sean Bowen moved on to the 52nd winner mark for the season when he rode The Late Legend to victory at Doncaster on Saturday. It was Sean’s fourth win on the eight-year-old gelding who has risen from a handicap mark of 76 to 112 since last March with another increase now on its way.

Finally, Pembrokeshire trainer Peter Bowen is recruiting full-time work riders and yard staff. If anyone is interested, call Peter on 07811 111234 or e-mail info@peterbowenracing.co.uk

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