Track Talk - 8th January 2024


09 January 2024

Lorcan Williams (photographed) is a Welsh jockey in form. He rode a double at Exeter on New Year’s Day and was on the scoresheet at Wincanton on Saturday, riding Fast Buck to victory in a two-mile handicap chase for another Williams, Devon trainer Jane.

Though there were only four runners and it seemed to be an open race, Fast Buck could be relied upon to handle the heavy going and was sent off at 100/30. He disputed the lead until the final turn into the straight, when he went ahead on his own to score by half a length. Lorcan made it four winners on the spin when he scored aboard Golden Ace at Taunton on Monday.

The form of another Pembrokeshire rider James Bowen is red hot too. He moved on to 25 winners for the season with a double at Taunton on Monday aboard the 235,000 euro JP McManus purchase Joyeuse and the Warren Greatrex trained Keep Running. Meanwhile, the current leader of the jump jockeys’ championship Sean Bowen is likely to be out of action for another couple of weeks after a fall at Aintree on Boxing Day.

A Saturday evening in January under the floodlights at Kempton isn’t the most glamorous place to be, but David Probert was highly delighted with a hat-trick there. That was hot on the heels of a Lingfield double on Thursday, and put him joint top of the flat jockeys’ table for 2024 with five winners so far.

Probert’s first winner was the Andrew Balding-trained Fire Demon, who’d shown fair form placed twice over seven furlongs last year. Dropped back to six in this maiden race, he led all the way. The only slight worry was that his mount drifted away from the rails in the closing stages. It was long odds against the stewards amending the result. Nevertheless Probert was “cautioned for careless riding, as he had allowed his mount to drift left-handed without timely correction carrying the runner-up slightly off its intended line.”

An hour later he rode Richard Hannon’s Talis Evolvere to win its third race from eight starts. After disputing the lead in the middle part of this one-mile contest he was briefly outpaced in the home straight before battling back to regain the advantage in the final half furlong.

The treble came up in the two-mile race on Red Flyer, who came to the front two out and kept on nicely to win by half a length. The horse hadn’t won beyond a mile and a half prior to this. He is a banker for the placepot when running at Kempton (his form there is now 343212321).

David Evans’ sole Kempton runner also won, and that was a thoroughly Welsh success as Jordan Williams was in the saddle. Williams rides almost exclusively for his grandfather Bernard Llewellyn and for Evans, whose yards are 25 miles apart.

Ultramarine, a Joseph O’Brien cast-off, has slid down the handicap since joining Evans but found his level in the last few months, winning at Chelmsford and Wolverhampton. At Kempton he travelled well through the race and won easily. Hoping to strike while the iron’s hot, he’s entered again at Chelmsford on Thursday, where he won’t have to carry a penalty.

It has been a frustrating start to the year for the team at Chepstow. The opening fixture of 2024 last Sunday 7th January was abandoned because of waterlogging. Conditions were so bad the decision was made four days before the meeting.

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