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Teenage jockey wins Welsh National on a teenager!

Author: Derek Thompson


What do you get when you put together a 16yo rookie jockey, who’s not even old enough to drive a car, with a veteran horse that at 13 years of age is nearly as old as the rider? You get an astonishing victory in one of the toughest steeplechases in the UK racing calendar, the £150,000 Welsh National at Chepstow James Bowen, a 16yo from Wales, brought 13yo Irish-trained Raz de Maree with a great run up the long home straight to beat 19 rivals in the gruelling three and three quarter mile, strength sapping marathon! It was an outstanding piece of horsemanship from Bowen who is the youngest son of West Wales trainer Peter Bowen and James, who learnt his trade on the pony racing circuit before switching to ride in point to points, has now graduated to the rough and tough world of National Hunt racing and the way he’s going he looks a certain future champion.

Well done as well to Raz de Maree’s trainer, Gavin Cromwell, who is also a blacksmith and only managed to get the horse to Chepstow in the nick of time because gale force winds had caused the cancellation of most of the sea ferries from Ireland to Wales! I remember Singspiel well IT’S great to see the name Singspiel among the race titles for the feature races at Meydan this Thursday and he was one of my favourite racehorses who became a record breaking Thoroughbred. Bred and owned by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum he carried his famous maroon and white silks to victories in nine of his 20 starts for trainer Sir Michael Stoute. His most famous win came in the 1997 Dubai World Cup at Nad al Sheba and I remember well calling him home under top American jockey Jerry Bailey.

He finished his racing career with earnings in excess of £3,600,000 which at the time was a record for a British-trained racehorse. He sadly died at the age of 18 but not before he’d sired some top class horses including Solow who won 13 out of 18, Moon Ballad, himself a Dubai World Cup winner, and Dar Re Mi. Cape Byron would be a topical winner of the Singspiel Stakes as he’s owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s uncle Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum and this Roger Variantrained colt has won two out of four in the UK and is a progressive sort who could well make his mark at the Carnival. Thunder Snow will be hoping to get Godolphin off the mark at the Carnival when he runs in the first round of the Maktoum Challenge and he could well be the flag bearer for the boys in blue who have over 60 horses ready to run at Meydan over the three months.

Winner of the UAE Derby on Dubai World Cup night last year he was then sent across the Atlantic to race in the Kentucky Derby but for some reason he didn’t. When the stalls opened for America’s most famous race he came out bucking and kicking and refused to do anything else. Brought back to the UK, his trainer Saeed bin Suroor soon had him back to winning ways and he is going to take some beating on Thursday night under the lights at Meydan as he builds up to the World Cup itself on March 31. Ertijaal is one of the fastest racehorses in the world and it will be a major surprise if he doesn’t win the sprint on the opening night of the carnival for the third time. Trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum I understand he is primed ready to win on his seasonal debut.

Danzeno, from the Mick Appleby stable in Oakham, Rutland, which is the smallest county in England, is reunited with Silvestre de Sousa, who was on board when the horse won so well at Ascot in July. He looks set to make his presence felt at Meydan this spring but lets hope he’s over any jet lag. Another batch of Britsh horses had problems at London’s Stansted Airport last Thursday where they were held up by snow. As a result, their travelling time, which should have been around 10 hours, turned into 24!

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07 Aug 2018
Issue Number: Issue 647
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Dubai playing a key role in British racing, says Jockey Club boss
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