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Welsh Racing Heats Up For Summer Time

By James Stevens

The summer is the prime time for the Bowen family and it was another good week for the Pembrokeshire operation as they eye the biggest jumps prize at this time of year.

Forget Royal Ascot when it comes to Peter and Michael Bowen, it is Market Rasen’s Summer Plate which is top of the priority list and Sunday’s impressive Perth winner Statuario is destined for the race after his fourth win at the Scottish track.

He surged home in the closing stages to win narrowly from Hang In There under Sean Bowen, son of co-trainer Peter, and could join the yard’s two-time race winner Francky Du Berlais on July 20.

It was an emotional winner too for the family stable after the death of popular owner Gwilym Morris on Sunday.

Team Bowen also enjoyed a notable midweek winner at Southwell with Letterston Lilly in the 2m bumper. The four-year-old was deemed good enough to appear in the Grade 2 bumper at the Grand National meeting on debut in April and built on that promise to win fairly decisively. She could be one to watch when sent hurdling.

Those two winners contributed to a fine week for Sean Bowen who occupies third-spot in the jump jockeys championship. Former winner Harry Skelton leads with 25.

Bowen, though, is riding well and had six winners to boost his season-long ambition of being crowned champion jump jockey. In addition to his double for his Dad, he struck at Newton Abbot with Easy Bucks, Uttoxeter with Dr Seb, Market Rasen with Unwanted Attention and guided Fancy Stuff to success at Bangor on Saturday.

Welsh Royal Ascot chances take shape

Royal Ascot is just around the corner and top Welsh Flat jockey David Probert may have found another nice chance with Dubai Bling.

The two-year-old – part-owned by football icon Michael Owen – was sent off 33-1 for his debut and connections joked if he won they would have to consider racing’s most glamorous fixture.

Yet he did just that when recovering from a slow start to win by a nose. He could be a live contender for Probert who only three years ago won a big Royal Ascot race in the Albany with Sandrine.

The talented rider is building up an exciting book of chances for the royal meeting, which runs between June 18-22, including Royal Hunt Cup contender Metal Merchant who is 12-1 with Dragonbet.

For the same Jack Channon stable, Probert looks set to ride Ferrous in the Wokingham, who Dragonbet make 25-1, while Arctic Thunder could also run at the meeting.

Names to note

The column has previously flagged Ben Jones as a jockey set to have a big season and he had a perfect record last week, riding a winner from his only mount.

The talented jockey, who enjoyed Cheltenham Festival glory in March, steered Greatness Awaits to success at Newton Abbot.

That took his seasonal tally to seven for the season, which Jack Tudor has also matched. The man best known for his association with top chaser Kitty’s Light was also on the scoresheet in Devon aboard Up For Appeal for Glamorgan trainer Christian Williams.

On Sunday, he was riding a winner at the opposite end of the country, striking on short-price favourite Fever Dream for Williams.

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