Ffos Las is usually a happy hunting ground for Welsh trainers and jockeys and though the main event on Saturday’s card eluded them, they were successful in half of the other races.
The strongly-fancied Uno Mas won for the ninth time, helped by the ten-pound allowance claimed by Ellis Collier, riding for his boss Christian Williams. His young rider, wanting to make completely sure of victory, rode him out to score by 13 lengths. It is a testament to Williams that he has managed to get a horse with so many victories to his credit (and is only a seven-year-old) running and winning off a rating of 93, having won off 115 two years ago.
Current Mood won the mares’ maiden hurdle, taking the lead three out and going on to win comfortably for Evan Williams and Adam Wedge. She should go on to better things.
Oriental Cross was a welcome winner for Tim Vaughan, doubling his seasonal tally. She led early in the straight and gamely fended off Christian Williams’ Barden Bella.
Leading Choice unseated James Bowen in the parade ring before the concluding bumper, but this wasn’t a bad omen because the 16/1 shot came from last to first, beating some other promising types. The winner was trained by Somerset trainer Nicky Martin, whose The Two Amigos has finished fifth and second in the last two Coral Welsh Grand Nationals. He will no doubt be trying again in this year’s race, which is little more than two months away.
Dans Le Vent came second in a big-field two and a half mile handicap hurdle at the Grand National meeting, but was unfancied at 18/1 for the Potter Group Welsh Champion Hurdle. It was run over half a mile shorter, and he duly stayed on at the end to finish a never-nearer second. His turn will come. That’s also the case with Dai Walters’ Dobryn, who was fifth.
The winner of the big race, Glory And Fortune, completed a great week for his trainer Tom Lacey, jockey Stan Sheppard and owner Jerry Hinds who also took the Listed novices’ chase at Chepstow’s Unibet Jump Season Opener with Tea Clipper.
The same afternoon at Market Rasen Sean Bowen rode a winner and Sam Thomas, who trains near Cardiff, saddled Stolen Silver to score there too. Both horses appreciated the good ground. Bowen’s mount Rafferty appeared to be a step ahead of the handicapper and would be worth a look if turning out again soon.
On Sunday Evan Williams’ stable star Silver Streak was odds on to win his usual pipe-opener at Kempton for the third time. He disappointed, jumping poorly by his standards and was no match for Sceau Royal, who ran here in preference to the Welsh Champion Hurdle.
Towards the other end of the scale, John Flint’s mare Canford Star had shown so little in her career to date that her 125/1 SP in a Uttoxeter handicap hurdle last week was perfectly justified. However, she turned in her best ever effort, finishing fourth of 15, beaten seven lengths.
Our next meeting at Ffos Las is a transferred fixture from Southwell which takes place on Thursday 28th October.