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Welsh jockey rides in Africa’s biggest horse race as winners come far and wide across the week

By James Stevens

There were winners across the country for Wales’ best jockeys and trainers and representation in South Africa’s biggest day at the races. The Racing Post’s James Stevens on the week gone by….

It was not just the Welsh rugby players who were competing on the other side of the equator this weekend, as Danny Muscutt was riding in Africa’s biggest race the Durban July.

Zimbabwe-born Muscutt is an adopted son having been raised in West Wales but the country’s Flat jockey of the year for 2023 could finish only ninth in the big one at Greyville, South Africa.

His mount, Double Superlative, sprung a 33-1 shock in Grade 1 company when Muscutt had a previous South Africa stint in July but Saturday’s 50-1 chance was unable to repeat those heroics. The Welsh rugby team too suffered defeat in the opening match of their Australia series.

Muscutt was the only established British-based rider in the race, worth R5 million (£215,000).

Bowen’s get set for their time to shine

Willie Mullins may dominate at Cheltenham, Aidan O’Brien bosses the Classics but the Summer Plate – the jump season highlight between June and September – is a race all about the Pembrokeshire-based Bowen family.

The Market Rasen contest is only two weeks away and team Bowen, which includes Peter and his son and co-trainer Michael as well as jockey Sean, look set to be strong once again with three challengers.

Only on Sunday, the latest emerged as Jerrash enjoyed a second consecutive win. He followed up an easy Bangor win with an impressive enough win to put him in the frame for next Saturday with Statuario and two-time winner Francky Du Berlais.

Peter Bowen has won the race eight times but would be seeking a first since taking out a joint licence with Michael. He said of Sunday’s winner: “The change of scenery has done him good. This was a lot better race than the one he won at Bangor last time.

“We’ll have three in the Summer Plate now. This horse is still improving. He won off 118 but I can’t see him going up that much. Statuario broke the course record at Perth last time, while Francky Du Berlais loves this place.”

That success was a third winner of the month for the jockey. He scored at Worcester on Monday with Vocito and Perth with Easy Bucks.

Long trip pays off

Perth may be 466 miles away and almost eight hours by car but it did not stop Glamorgan trainer Christian Williams raiding with two winners this week.

He sent four tracks to the racecourse based north of Edinburgh and all finished in the top three at last. The two winners came as Planned Paradise won the 2m4f handicap hurdle and Captain’s Pick won the 3m handicap hurdle.

They came with the talented Jack Tudor aboard and he even enjoyed a winner the following day at the opposite end of the country, riding Only Fools to win the last at Newton Abbot on Friday.

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