We have a short break before our next fixture on Wednesday 23rd March but there is a meeting at Chepstow on Saturday 26th February. It’s the Six Nations Race Day with seven races and then the England v Wales match on the big screen in the Fans Zone from 4.45pm. Tickets are just £10 in advance and covid passes are no longer required for entry.
It was great to see the Potter Group Welsh Champion Hurdle winner Glory And Fortune (photographed) take Saturday’s £155,000 Betfair Hurdle at Newbury for trainer Tom Lacey, jockey Stan Sheppard and owner Jerry Hinds. He’s definitely a horse on an upward curve having finished second to Epatante in Kempton’s Christmas Hurdle.
He’s now earnt a tilt at next month’s Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. Stan Sheppard is having a superb season, having also ridden the Coral Welsh Grand National winner Iwilldoit.
Incidentally, the runner-up in the Welsh Champion Hurdle, the Evan Williams-trained Dans Le Vent, won a Group 3 handicap next time out at Haydock and was third in a similar race at Sandown a week ago. He will probably be aimed at one of the Cheltenham handicaps.
The Welsh were involved with four Lingfield winners on Saturday.
In the opener, trainer Robert Stephens had made it three from six on the flat this year when Melakaz completed a hat-trick. By using seven pound claimer Harry Davies, the horse’s burden was reduced to a featherweight seven stone twelve.
David Probert collected two more winners at the Surrey track. To begin with, he steered the odds-on War In Heaven to his second victory in a row. It was the Andrew Balding-trained three-year-old’s first run in a handicap. Later he got Protected Guest home in a four-horse race, in which they all finished within a length of each other. Probert has ridden 32 winners this year, the last fourteen in the space of fourteen days with a strike rate of 29%.
In the finale Balding gave one of the Kingsclere apprentices, Welshman Joshua Bryan, the mount on the 1/10 favourite Notre Belle Bete, who duly obliged.
Christian Williams and Jack Tudor combined to win Uttoxeter’s 3m chase on Saturday with Motown Lake. The horse unseated last time out, when he was favourite for his first outing in a handicap, but made no mistake this time. Lightly raced, and rated only 80 before this, he could have plenty of improvement to come.
Alan Johns rode Run To Milan to win an Exeter veterans chase on Sunday for Victor Dartnall. After making most of the running, he was overtaken at the penultimate fence but Johns wasn’t worried, and cajoled Run To Milan back into the lead at the final fence. It was the horse’s third course success. He’s only just turned ten and bowling along in front for three miles on very soft going is clearly his forte.