Our first meeting of 2022 this Wednesday 5th 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 Wednesday’s meeting worth £83,000.
We are expecting an update from the Welsh Government on the return of spectators in the next few days. Our next fixture is on Tuesday 1st February 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 made all the running and 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 big handicap chase was won by the mare Vienna Court, owned by Bangor racecourse director James Potter and his wife Jean (photographed). 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 rode Le Milos to win for Tim Vaughan. It was an excellent performance. Carrying 11 stone 12 over three miles on heavy going, the horse won by seven lengths and never looked in trouble. Vaughan has just recovered from Covid but had to miss the race due to being in hospital, where his seven-year-old son was being given stitches after a mishap at home putting away the Christmas decorations. The stable has been in the doldrums for a long time, but two good winners in the last week give hope that a revival may be round the corner.
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 was the mare’s second course and distance success, and completed a double for Jack Tudor. Half an hour earlier he rode Here Comes Henry to victory for 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. She should be competitive in the big all-weather races over seven furlongs in the next few months.
On Sunday James Davies ended a 70-day losing spell by making most of the running aboard Mickyh in a 2m4f hurdle at Plumpton. The 18/1 shot had no form to speak of, but he jumped well in front for Davies and stayed on stoutly. Later on the card James Bowen scored on Nashville Nipper to take his total for the season to 43, more than he achieved in either of the last two campaigns.