Our Kaiser Chiefs Race Night last Thursday attracted a crowd in excess of 6000 and was a brilliant night of racing and music. It was a relief in many ways to finally get the event off the ground following two postponements due to Covid. Thank you all those who attended.
On the track it was a successful evening for three Welsh jockeys – Connor Brace, James Bowen and Alan Johns – who all rode winners. It was James’ first winner back after a spell out injured.
Our next fixture is Thursday 16th June. First race 5.25pm.
Overlooked in the hullabaloo about the Platinum Derby was the achievement of the runner-up, Hoo Ya Mal, ridden by Bargoed born David Probert.
His huge odds of 150/1 were perfectly understandable. He’s shown good form, but not at this level. He was beaten seven lengths by Nations Pride in his last outing. This time he finished eleven in front of him, at level weights in both races.
It was the first time Probert had been on the horse since his debut almost a year ago. He told the Racing Post, “Obviously Hoo Ya Mal was trying a mile and a half for the first time, and he'd never run at this level, so it was all about keeping a lid on him and getting him to relax. He got into a very good rhythm the whole way around and we got a nice position and then hunted our way up the inside. It opened up quite nicely and his last furlong was his best. He saw it out really well and there are better things to come.”
This will be music to the ears of the horse’s owner Ahmad Al Shaikh, who persuaded trainer Andrew Balding not to run him in the shorter French Derby. Hoo Ya Mal was never going to beat Desert Crown on Saturday, and was nearly caught by the unlucky fast-finishing third Westover. Nevertheless, but it would be great to see the first three meet again in the Irish Derby.
It was Probert’s best result in a Group 1. Success in that elite grade must only be a matter of time.
Sunday jumps fixtures in Scotland often entail Irish trainers such as Gordon Elliott sending over a few horses and Sean Bowen (photographed) being enlisted to ride them – and, quite often, win. Such was the case at Kelso a week ago, and there was more of the same at Perth this weekend. Elliott’s Enki Flacke was a 4/7 steering job in the first on the card, a 2m4f novice hurdle, and half an hour later the 6/4 favourite Ash Tree Meadow completed a quick double for jockey and trainer in a 2m novices chase. In both races the Racing Post’s racereader described the wins using the word “comfortably”. Elliott has now trained 195 winners at Perth.
Sean rode another winner at Southwell on Monday aboard Ten Past Midnight and now leads the jockeys’ championship with 20 winners for the season. Brian Hughes, the current champion, has 17 successes so far.
In Sussex last week, there was a Welsh 1-2 in an Arab race at Brighton. Glamorgan’s Steve Blackwell trained Aloof and Aljawaaher to lead the field home in a seven furlong race at the seaside track. Riding the winner, Aloof, was Charlie Price, more usually associated with Tim Vaughan’s jumpers. Since riding 23 winners in 2019/20 things have been tough, and only twelve more were forthcoming in the next two seasons. But in the new National Hunt season he has scored twice on Vaughan’s Mourzouk. Price can still claim three pounds over jumps and weight isn’t a problem, seeing as he managed to ride at nine stone five at Brighton.