Cardiff based Sam Thomas trained a double for Dai Walters, the former chairman of Ffos Las, at Ascot on Saturday.
Good Risk At All had finished second three times in a row over the minimum trip but this time, upped to 2m3f, he travelled nicely in the very soft ground, jumped well and won with ease under a typically confident Charlie Deutsch ride. The jockey’s main trainer, Venetia Williams, saddled the runner-up, the only other horse to finish within 43 lengths of the winner.
Earlier on the card, that combination’s Skytastic had to fight hard to win the novice hurdle over the same distance. Thomas believes he was unsuited by the ground, but “he’s laid back, and he could be anything.” Aintree is more likely to be on the agenda than Cheltenham.
Two of Wales’s highest profile horses ran disappointingly on Saturday. Waiting Patiently was having his second outing for Christian Williams in the Ascot Chase, but as with his first run, he was pulled up. Despite working well at home, he cannot reproduce it on the racecourse and he has now been retired. A horse of infinite promise four years ago, winning seven races and placed in three Grade 1s, he was too fragile to break through at the highest level.
Evan Williams’ Coral Welsh Grand National hero Secret Reprieve was pulled up in Haydock’s Grand National Trial. The winner was The Galloping Bear, ridden by Ben Jones who was riding one of the biggest winners of his career. The horse is well named, an out-and-out stayer who had to give everything to overhaul the long-time leader, the gallant Bristol De Mai. It was five years to the day since Jones, son of Ffos Las clerk of the course Dai, rode his first ever winner, in a point-to-point at Howick.
Following their success in the Scottish County Hurdle a fortnight ago Adam Wedge (photographed) and Laura Morgan returned to Musselburgh on Sunday with three runners, all of which won. Wedge passed the 50-winner mark for the season during the afternoon.
To begin with Champ Is Real took the 3m novice chase at odds of 5/4. With the aid of a first-time tongue-tie he left his previous form over hurdles and shorter distances well behind. Much the same thing happened with Seemingly So, another lowly-weighted horse hitherto out of form. He won the 3m handicap chase at 7/2. Then Clear The Runway broke his duck in his first steeplechase, after some fair placed efforts hurdling. The bookies were running for cover now and he was sent off at 11/8.
David Probert avoided Storm Eunice in favour of Qatar, where he rode two horses for Andrew Balding at the Doha track at the weekend. They finished fourth and second, neither getting the run of the race but earning £174,000 in prize money.
Everyone connected with the Grace Harris yard near Chepstow will be rooting for Christina Berry at the annual Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards. She is one of the three finalists in the running for the Rider/Groom Award. Grace has described Christina’s work for the stable as “indispensable”. She also plunders Best Turned Out prizes, and her joyful celebrations when the yard has a winner can hardly fail to be noticed. The awards were being made via an online ceremony on Monday evening.
Our next meeting at Ffos Las is Wednesday 23rd March. We are offering a £20 admission package including a ticket, a drink, pie and racecard – advance bookings only.