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Welsh Horse Racing News

By James Stevens

Sean Bowen ended the season as the runner-up in the jockeys championship but has already got his eye on the prize in the future.

The son of top Pembrokeshire trainer Peter finished the campaign with a record total of 157 winners but was still seven behind Harry Cobden. While it wasn’t to be for the Welshman, the new champion does at least have some association with Wales, having had much of his grounding riding out for some of the country’s leading trainers.

Bowen though has vowed to try again in the 2024-25 season and would likely be one of the favourites for the crown. 

He told the Racing TV Luck on Sunday show: “It makes you hungrier and probably the success sweeter. Uttoxeter and Hexham is on the first day of the season next Saturday and I’ll be there trying to find as many rides as I can to get as good a start as I possibly can.

“Saturday was horrible, everyone says unlucky because of the kindness in their heart but it’s not nice and you don’t want to hear it. I’ll kick on for next season now.”

David Brace goes close to big target

It was also close but not to be for one of Wales’ leading owners, breeders, trainers and general racing enthusiast David Brace who finished a neck away from winning the race he wants to win most.

Brace’s window company Dunraven are the sponsors of the Dunraven Bowl at Chepstow and he always targets the hunter chase. He had two runners this season, Gats And Co, who was sent off 6-4 favourite while Looksnowtlikebrian was a bit of a late gamble into 4-1 but neither could give him a first win.

Tom Broughton picked up the ride on Gats And Co but he was narrowly headed in the closing stages by Castle Daragh by David Pipe, having looked like the winner for most of the way.

The Bowl had been for many years restricted to Welsh trainers up until this year and being pipped by the renowned Devon operation may have stung just a little.

There was still reason to celebrate for the Brace family as the trainer’s grandson Connor rode Wolf Prince to win the 2m handicap hurdle on the card.

The Tim Vaughan family too had reason to cheer as the trainer’s son Edward enjoyed his first winner under rules in the 3m2f handicap chase aboard Silver In Disguise. 

It was young Edward’s ninth ride under rules and his father had given him his first opportunity in a big handicap chase at Cheltenham no less.

Ben finishes best season in style 

The blog pointed out last week that Lorcan Williams had enjoyed his best season but Ben Jones is quickly becoming a leading name in the ranks and finished in the top ten for the jockey’s championship this season.

He scored a record total of 55 winners in what proved to be a phenomenal campaign. It includes a Cheltenham Festival winner with Shakem Up’arry in the Plate and eyecatching winners in the EBF Final and Reynoldstown with Champagne Twist and Henry’s Friend respectively.

Much of his success has come down to a link-up with top Gloucestershire stable Ben Pauling and he has quickly become one of the go-to guys for rides from that operation. Expect him to make giant strides again in the 2024-25 season.

James Bowen, from the same family of Sean, finished the season with 52 winners meaning three Welsh jockeys got into the top ten of the jockeys’ championship this season. Jack Tudor was 17th on the list with 47 winners.

Wales’ flag bearers

Evan Williams was once again Wales’ leading trainer as he narrowly snuck over the half-a-million mark for prize money in the final week of the season.

Williams enjoyed 38 winners, just three less than last year, to amass £501,977 throughout the course of the season. Sam Thomas was next on the list with earnings of £390,007.

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