Please Note: Next Race meeting is Wednesday 24th April 2024

Daly’s hand on a royal trophy as Lavelle doubles up

Heavy ground fixtures are often marked by long odds winners, but such has been the length of this interminably wet winter that good ground horses are thin on the ground. When a gravel-based track like Ludlow becomes heavy, you know it’s been wet. Mudlarks are having a season to remember.

Nevertheless, every cloud has a silver lining (unless you’re a groundsman seeking to repair your track). Soft conditions brought out 65 runners to the seven race card that featured the HRH The Prince of Wales Trophy Chase, a handicap over 3 miles for amateur riders – plenty far enough in the prevailing conditions, and run, unsurprisingly, nearly a minute below standard.

How appropriate therefore that the race should fall to Shropshire’s equivalent of racing royalty in the form of likeable Henry Daly and lady champion Point-to-Point rider, Gina Andrews with Rockinastorm. Daly’s record around his local track is excellent, but sadly, he is one of numerous trainers whose owners are struggling to afford horses rated over 140, whose ownership is more and more concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.

Rockinastorm’s 5 1/2l winner was Daly’s 15th of the season, and third at Ludlow since the restart in October.

The day began with the success of another youngster from Jackdaws Castle, as Diamond Dice put two learning runs behind him in an authoritative 2l lead over Irish raider Hamsiyann from Tony Martin’s Meath yard. Ludlow is not a venue one associates with Irish raiders, but a combination of lack of opportunities at home, added to strong opposition from the Mullins-Elliott-de Bromhead power base is making visits to the mainland more and more frequent, even for the most modest events.

O’Neill, scoring a 59th time for the season, is well up in the trainers’ list, yet high profile Saturday winners have been scarce. A televised winner at Haydock last Saturday was a welcome rarity.

Emma Lavelle is another enjoying an excellent season, just reward for her and her partner, Barry’s investment in Peter Makin’s yard at Ogbourne Maizey, backing on to the Barbury Estate. Maiden Monks Meadow, knocking on the door in his last few runs, broke his duck in the 3m maiden, whilst 7 year old Canty Bay made it a second winner for the season in the concluding 2m 5f handicap hurdle, both ridden by stable jockey Tom Bellamy.

Another trainer enjoying a purple patch is Lucy Wadham, one of the redoubt of Newmarket-based jumps trainers. Ably assisted by champion rider – elect, Harry Cobden, Terrasita scored by 12l in the Farm & Garden Machinery EBF Mares Limited Handicap Chase, after contesting the running for much of the race with favourite Malaita. Cobden had left enough in reserve to outpoint Mel Rowley’s charge between the final two fences, and asserted for what turned out to be a comfortable win.

Wadham’s quality of horses is not rich, but she places them well. Her 19 winners this term, in predominantly low grade races, have been achieved with 14 individual winners. If she’s good enough to be able to book Harry Cobden, now four ahead of long time championship leader Sean Bowen, she’s good enough for a majority of owners.

Juvenile Latin Verse broke his maiden on the Flat for Ralph Beckett, but has shuttled back and forth between Sutton Veney and Sherborne in Dorset these past few months. Sy Hosie, currently training the 4 year old gelding, scored with him in late November at Catterick, before losing the horse to Tony Charlton, now overseeing the former Milton Harris string. Hosie took charge of the gelding again this month, and to good effect. On this rating, he may yet score again, as he did here comprehensively in the Michael Lumsden handicap Hurdle over the minimum trip. Harry Reed was in the plate.

It’s a luxury of training your own horses that you have no owners to keep happy. Anyone frequenting race meetings in South Wales from Chepstow to Lydstep will be familiar with the black and red colours of double glazing entrepreneur, David Brace. David’s son, Connor, started between the flags and graduated to conditional status with Fergal O’Brien. Family connections meant he came in for the ride on his father’s Thatza Dazzler, who came out 6 1/2l to the good in the Farm & Garden Machinery Novices Handicap Chase over the shortest distance. A family affair all told.




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