Sean Bowen had three favourites to ride for Olly Murphy at Bangor on Saturday, but even with the assistance of several late withdrawals they had to settle for just one winner.
Act Of Authority made all in the novice hurdle. On form he deserved to be sent off at odds of 1/6 (he was sixth beaten 11 lengths in a Grade 2), but as Bowen said later, though he has plenty of ability he is not straightforward. He soon established a big lead, briefly looked like he might be overhauled three out, but then went away again to win by seven lengths. Murphy observed that the horse took a long time to pull up.
Saturday’s racing at Doncaster survived an inspection, but in a way the weather improved too much. The sun came out and its lowness prevented any jumping in the home straight all afternoon. One beneficiary of this, however, was Connor Brace, who rode Mistral Blue to victory in a two and a half mile mares’ race that required only four hurdles to be jumped. She fluffed the last of them, which was about a mile from the finish, and came under pressure from her rider. With no more obstacles, Mistral Blue gradually built up a head of steam and those that had taken 14/1 in running after that error were rewarded by seeing her hit the front a furlong out under Brace and win by 16 lengths. There were only five runners, so connections will be hoping the handicapper is lenient. Nevertheless it was only her fourth outing and she has scope for improvement.
Motorists had been advised not to travel in the northwest on Sunday because of bad weather and the Carlisle meeting suffered from 24 non-runners. Undaunted, Ben Jones (photographed) made the journey for one ride for Lancashire trainer Chris Kellett, and it won. Begoodtoyourself had won one chase out of 28, but this was only his sixth try over hurdles. Three miles was clearly too far last time, whereas today’s two and a half was just right. He ran on gamely to lead in the final hundred yards. Kellett had had just two winners from 68 runners over jumps in the last five years but this horse was fancied at 3/1. There are now only two months since March 2019 when Jones has had rides and failed to get a winner.
Chepstow race this Saturday 9th December, where the highlight is the Coral Welsh Grand National Trial. This is over a fraction short of three miles, six furlongs less than the big event on December 27th. Two of the last three winners, Secret Reprieve and Iwilldoit, went on to take the Welsh National itself. A Christmas party atmosphere is promised and a Tom Jones tribute act will be performing after racing.
Our next meeting at Ffos Las is Tuesday 12th December when we have seven races from 12.20pm.