Track Talk - 04/04/22


04 April 2022

Our first April fixture takes place this Thursday when we have seven races from 1pm. It is also the opening day of the Aintree Grand National meeting and all the races will be shown on our big screen. Tickets are £17 in advance and £20 on day – there is a £5 concession on the day for seniors.  

Not for the first time this year, Christian Williams-trained horses dominated the finish of the weekend’s big race on ITV, as Win My Wings and Kitty’s Light finished first and second in the Scottish Grand National.  Their form was there for all to see, and they were returned as two of the 13/2 co-favourites. 

The nine-year-old mare Win My Wings travelled easily and was 5/2 in running fully six furlongs out.  “It was all straightforward really,” said the Irish amateur jockey Rob James afterwards.  His seven pound claim wasn’t necessary given the horse’s facile seven length victory.  That allowance suggested an inexperienced rider was on board, but though he had only had 12 winners under National Hunt Rules, he has ridden 264 in point-to-points in Ireland.   

It was the first time since 1995 that the two four-mile races, the Eider Chase and the Scottish National, had been won by the same horse in the same year.  But although Win My Wings is a confirmed stayer, and enjoyed the good ground, she is versatile enough to have won over two and a quarter miles on heavy going in France last May.   

Kitty’s Light, so often the bridesmaid, made a bad mistake at the second fence yet ran on valiantly under Jack Tudor to finish as the runner-up. 

Even if you set aside the Scottish National result, it was a great day for the Welsh. 

Sean Bowen rode the winner of the Scottish Champion Hurdle, which despite its name is only a handicap.  His mount, Anna Bunina, was second in the race last year.  The pony-sized mare was kept to the inside and was poised to challenge before the final flight when the door closed in front of her.  Bowen switched her round the leading pair and she shot past them on the run-in.  He was full of praise for County Meath trainer John McConnell, on whose raiders to Britain he has a strike rate of 32%.  “Every time he comes over here, you’d be disappointed if you went home without a winner.” 

Richard Patrick rode Do Your Job to take the Champion Novices Chase.  It was the jockey’s second Grade 2 winner of the season – Hillcrest being the other – and it was a breakthrough success at this level for Michael Scudamore.  His four rivals helped by making an assortment of jumping errors but he outclassed them.   

At Newbury Mot A Mot won on his first start for Sam Thomas.  This ex-Henderson horse, owner by Dai Walters, had been thought good enough to take part in last year’s Aintree bumper.  Now having his first run in a handicap, with the benefit of a wind op, and a first-time tongue tie, it seemed that all the stars were aligned.  Pricewise tipped him and he was returned at 11/4. 

Two Chepstow races went to the home team.  In the three mile chase Wayfinder scored for Rebecca Curtis and Ben Jones, taking his record to four wins from 12 starts.  Now proven on good as well as soft, he should be able to score again.  The runner-up, Tim Vaughan’s Clemencia, has form figures of 3332 and deserves a change of luck. 

Ballinsker won the two and a half mile chase for Evan and Isabel Williams easily, but his opponents suffered various mishaps and he may be flattered by the twelve-length margin of victory. 

Christian Williams and Jack Tudor made the 461 mile journey from Ayr to Plumpton on Sunday with four runners.  Their Loup De Maulde was favourite for the penultimate race, but had to give best to Evan Williams’ Balkardy.  It was the trainer’s birthday, and Fergus Gillard made his first ride for him a very satisfactory present. 

Lorcan Williams stole a win in Sunday’s maiden hurdle at Hereford, depriving a clear leader who appeared to have the race in the bag.  After the final flight he lurched over towards the stands side, but Williams had sensed what would happen and came wider still, squeezing his mount Striking Out through a narrow gap between his opponent and the rails to get the verdict by half a length. 

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