David Probert (photographed) was confirmed on Good Friday as the British Champion All-Weather Jockey for the 2021/22 season, finishing with 82 winners, 20 clear of Hollie Doyle. He said, “It’s great. It’s rolled on from a very good season last season, but I’ve been very lucky to ride for plenty of different trainers. It means a lot to win and it’s a big achievement.” He is 12/1 to be champion for the turf season, which runs from the Guineas to Champions Day. Probert was at Newbury on Sunday, where he won on the debutant Holguin for his main stable, that of Andrew Balding. It was their first two-year-old winner of the new campaign.
Bernard Llewellyn scored a rare double on Saturday, in the two divisions of the 2m handicap hurdle that concluded the Newton Abbot card. First was the 16/1 shot Mind Hunter, getting off the mark at the tenth attempt. Thanks to Conor Ring’s three pound allowance he had to carry only nine stone eleven, 27 pounds more than the runner-up.
Half an hour later stablemate Cogital won easily at odds of 12/1. It was the horse’s fifth win since joining the yard. He seems equally useful on the flat or over hurdles. Llewellyn trained the second horse as well, Ascot Day.
Also on Saturday, the David Evans-trained Alablaq recorded his second course and distance victory of 2022 on Lingfield’s six furlong Polytrack. The 15/8 favourite got up to win in the final stride. The ex-Sheikh Hamdan gelding spent a year on the sidelines prior to being sold to Evans for 10,000 guineas. He’s run well in most of his races since and is entered in a similar event Lingfield on Wednesday evening.
Welsh success is expected at every Ffos Las meeting, and on Sunday there was a 1-2-3 for local trainers in the 2m chase. Sean Bowen, riding for David Rees, drove Dunbar ahead on the run-in on to deprive Evan Williams’ Heronord and Tim Vaughan’s Isle of Aron. It was Dunbar’s first win, on his 20th start under National Hunt Rules, overcoming a 304 day absence since his last outing.
Sean completed a double on his father’s eleven-year-old Lord Bryan, who was running 18 pounds below his previous winning mark, He hadn’t won over 3m until today. Jumping well, albeit slightly to the right, he duelled with Mr Katanga for most of the way but had enough petrol in the tank to win by a length and a quarter.
There was a crowd of more than 4000 at Ffos Las on Sunday for the first Easter family day since 2019.
Christian Williams sent a few horses to Plumpton. There Jony Max was always going well in the 3m chase and took the lead approaching the last fence. He won by four lengths. Jack Tudor had a bit up his sleeve, which could be relevant in view of his entry at Taunton on Thursday.
Their next runner, Loup De Maulde, was made favourite but was brought down in a melee at the fourth fence. Tudor was unhurt and in the next race, having his first ride for Sussex trainer Richard Rowe, won on an outsider, Constant Friday. Always prominent on the outside, he took the lead entering the straight and the jockey’s power-packed finish ensured he would not be caught.