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After Cheltenham, it’s the Raining Champions – Chepstow and Ffos Las! – From The Dragon’s Mouth #9

After Cheltenham, whatever happened over the following weeks was always going to feel like a bit of a comedown.

Things have been what you’d call steady. Well, steady and wet!

We took up pitches as Ffos Las and Chepstow last week and as much as I love bookmaking,it’s certainly less lovable when you’re drenched through.

Ffos was very quiet and we struggled to field much money. There were a few winning races and a few losing. But nothing to set the pulses racing, that’s for sure.

Chepstow saw a little more action and a lot more rain. The results were friendly and we kept about half of what we took.

For the record, over the year, an on-course bookie normally retains about 10% of turnover.

On Thursday evening, I had the pleasure of attending a dinner in aid of a new planned statue unveiling in Cardiff for the rugby league ‘Codebreakers.’

It’s too detailed to do it justice here, but if you don’t know the story of Billy Boston, Clive Sullivan and Gus Risman, then it’s well worth checking out.

Talking of statues, they’ll have to start thinking about getting one made for Bradley Gibbs of this year’s Cheltenham foxhunter fame.

Far from having a Cheltenham comedown, he was back in the point-to-point fields last week, raiding the English pots with two winners at Maisemore in Gloucestershire.

Unfortunately, he won’t be riding any winners in Wales this weekend as our stop-start season has been stopped again by the wet ground. We were due to race at Bonvilston, just outside of Cardiff.

There’s a further two meetings planned there this year, though, and if you can get to one I highly recommend it.

Recent point-to-point trainer graduates are trainers Evan Williams, Christian Williams and Tim Vaughan.

The jockeys – Connor Brace, Jack Tudor, Ben Jones, the Bowen Brothers – James and Sean – Richard Patrick and Alan Johns have all ridden in recent seasons.

You get a chance to see them craft their skill at a local level and it can really help to spot some early value when they do hit the racetrack under rules.

Robbie Llewellyn is one of these cases in point (forgive the pun.) He’s had a few seasons in the muddy fields but now trains under rules.

His horses are likely to be overpriced in the short run as proven by the 11/2 winner (feel the pinch) he had at Bangor last Saturday.

This Saturday sees the start of the flat season and the traditional curtain-raiser is the Lincoln at Doncaster.

The current favourite, Al Mubhir, needs five to come out of the race as he’s currently the 27th entry in a race that only 22 can enter.

Should that happen, though, you can be sure of plenty of market support.

His trainer, William Haggas, is currently tied as the most successful in the race’s long history.

However, I wouldn’t be a bookmaker if I wasn’t going to oppose it. It’s currently at 4/1, with all those other runners to take on.

Added to that, only four favourites have won the race in the last 22 years.

One, I’ll be a little less keen to take on is Baradar. I really rate George Boughey as a trainer, the horse has course form – and has clearly improved since joining the yard from Johnny Murtagh.

Pob lwc, whatever you land on and enjoy your punting.

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