Track Talk - Super Saturday For Welsh Jockeys


05 February 2024

It was a super Saturday for the Welsh with four jockeys and two trainers having winners at five different tracks.

James Bowen set the ball rolling at Sandown on Nicky Henderson’s Jingko Blue, the top weight in a 2m4f novices handicap hurdle. Despite racing keenly and making a couple of scrappy jumps he cruised into the lead at the second last and drew right away from what had been a closely-grouped field. The lightly-raced five-year-old could get into a Cheltenham handicap with a light weight but by then Nico de Boinville is likely to be back on board.

Ben Jones’ (photographed) purple patch continued when he managed to get the enigmatic Harper’s Brook to win a decent 2m chase. Twice the horse has pulled itself up when having the race sewn up. He would have liked to be covered up till late, but in a small field that was difficult. He was upsides the leader three out when both of them were nearly brought down by a loose horse. The other two dropped back and then Harper’s Brook was joined by the favourite at the last fence, only for that one to come to grief. Left clear, Jones kept his mount going all the way up the Sandown hill and admitted later that, “I never crossed the line so slowly in my life.” He stated that this often-frustrating horse has as much ability as any in the Ben Pauling yard.

Jones rode another winner on Pauling’s Sixmilebridge in the bumper and is now on the 35 winner mark for the season.

Eaton Collina, reverting to his optimum distance of 2m4f, was an easy winner at Wetherby for Richard Patrick and Kerry Lee. He was in the lead and going well when his nearest rival came down at the penultimate fence, and what with half the field having already pulled up he could coast home by 25 lengths.

At Kempton Ultramarine won for the fourth time since his initial outing for David Evans last September. He didn’t show his true colours when recently running at Lingfield, but this return to the scene of a previous course and distance triumph suited him much better. Hollie Doyle conjured up a decisive little burst of speed that got his head in front just before passing the post.

Evans’ neighbour in the Monmouthshire village of Pandy, Nikki Evans (no relation) trained Virtual Hug to score for the second time at Wolverhampton. He’d been running consistently without winning since recording a success at the Midlands track in the autumn.

Back at Kempton, David Probert won the last on the 11-race maiden Page Three. When he asked her for her effort she took a bit of time to get going but ran on well to land odds of 11/10. Andrew Balding found a very weak race for this five-year-old mare and she can go to the paddocks now with a win under her belt.

Sean Bowen hopes to be back in the saddle in the second half of this week, but Harry Cobden has reduced his lead in the jump jockeys’ title race to just five at the time of writing. Cobden rode a four timer at Musselburgh on Sunday.

Our next meeting at Ffos Las is Friday 16th February when we have seven races from 2pm.

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