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Brave Betsy Is A Winter Heart-Warmer: From The Dragon’s Mouth

It’s that time of year when the temperatures drop.

But before you reach for the thermostat, what should you do?

You put the jumpers on! That’s what!

Chepstow saw the unofficial start of the National Hunt season over last Friday and Saturday and on Sunday it was the DragonBet Champion Hurdle day at Ffos Las.

It was a weekend that had everything that was right about racing, sport and community – all coming together.

Friday began with the Welsh Jump Jockeys’ Derby. It was a charity race in aid of Latch Wales, specifically raising awareness for a special young girl called Betsy Williams.

Betsy is the daughter of racehorse trainer Christian Williams. Her bravery – and that of her family – has been a stark reminder for me, personally, that success on the racecourse or that backing a winner or two matters not one bit compared to the truly important things in life.

They can be proud of the way they have kept going through a tough time.

The Welsh racing community can also be proud of the way it has rallied behind them. The race itself helped raise upward of £14,000 for the charity and it was heartwarming to see how much everyone was willing to give their time, effort, and money.

Because that’s what I’ve always felt Welsh racing to be – a collective community, one that isn’t built on the sound financial backing of other regions, but one that’s built on pure grit, raw determination, and a desire to prove itself as as good as any.

Connor Brace (aka the beast from Bridgend) won the Derby on Recoup and despite his mount being second favourite we were thankful to manage to raise a few hundred pounds to add to the pot through bets taken via the site and on our pitch at the track.

When the proper racing began, the betting action was pretty heavy as was the going after Friday’s torrential rain.

Captain Teague winning the Silver Trophy was a nightmare of a result. Bets of £600, £1,000, £660  and an £800 along with plenty of £50s and £100s and £200s, all-around evens and a shade of odds-on, made making a profit on the day an uphill task.

Lebowski getting beat helped turn the tide. It was a one-horse book and one of our biggest liabilities of the year.

I’ll admit to getting a little nervous (and needing a change of trousers) when the dude was bowling along in front four out, but all’s well that ends well – even if Lebowski didn’t, having weakened dramatically at the tail end of the race.

The Saturday saw a big crowd despite the quarter final rugby clash.

It started well with Knappers Hill getting beat at 4/5.

I thought I’d won enough to ensure victory on the day. But Al Dancer winning a few races later and wiping out all the profit reminded me that you’re never far enough in front to start getting comfortable.

Thankfully, (for me at least) there was a good old-fashioned bookies’ result in the big race of the day.

Pyramid Place winning the Silver Trophy was a virtual skinner (hardly anyone backed it) and we kept nearly all we took on the race.

Profit secured and business falling off a cliff due to the match being shown on the big screens, it was time to put a nail in the winnings and prep for Ffos Las and the Dragonbet Welsh Champion Hurdle Day.  

Being a small family business, born from the betting ring, to be able to sponsor a day like this is a dream come true.

The big race itself was a real high quality affair and the fact that it was won by a Welsh Jockey (Richard Patrick on Nemean Lion) during a weekend when all of Welsh racing pulled together, made it even more special.

I’ve been watching Richard progress his career from the muddy point-to-point fields of Wales to the lofty heights of where his is now and it’s been a pleasure all the way through.

In betting terms, the book didn’t take as much as it did over the two days at Chepstow, but at least that meant I could relax a little.

The biggest bet struck was £500 ew @ 9/1 FiveonFive in the big race itself which put a pause to the relaxing – especially when it was travelling like a winner two hurdles from home.

The horse ended up third so the punter collected and the major iceberg was averted for the DragonBet book.

All in all, it was a special weekend and thankfully a winning one. One that will last long in the memory for the quality of horses on the racetrack and the quality of people off it.

If you joined us, had a bet with us, or managed to donate a few pounds to Latch, the children’s charity, then here’s a genuine Diolch.

You can read more about the fundraiser and there’s still time to donate via this link – it’s never too late Chepstow Racecourse is fundraising for LATCH Welsh Children’s Cancer Charity (

Pob lwc and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

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