By Brian Lee
Silver Streak won on the richest race day of the year at Ffos Las. A bumper crowd attended, there were 80 runners in total and more than £100,000 of prize money on offer across the eight races.
That included £45,000 for the Dunraven Group Welsh Champion Hurdle feature race.
The Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las was won by the grey Silver Streak, who at five years old was the youngest of the eight starters.
Trained at Llancarfan in the Vale of Glamorgan by former national champion point-to-point rider Evan Williams, Silver Streak was back in action for the first time since winning the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock last May.
— Ffos Las Racecourse (@FfosLasRC) October 23, 2018
He was held up by stable jockey Adam Wedge in the early stages as last year’s winner The New One cut out the pace.
However, at around halfway, Silver Streak took closer order and went on to jump the final obstacle in front to win by three lengths from the Paul Nicholls trained Le Prezien.
“I’m delighted,” said Williams. “It is a surprise in as we taking on very good horse.
“Our horse is young and progressive, but you never underestimate the quality of the opposition.
“It was lovely to win a Welsh Champion Hurdle. For a man like myself based in Wales it’s tremendous.
“The win means a lot to us. At the end of the day, he’s won a Swinton Hurdle and a Welsh Champion Hurdle. We’ll enjoy what we’ve done and see where we end up.”
Silver Streak went off the 3-1 joint-favourite.
In the following handicap chase, Silver Streak’s rider Adam Wedge, on Dai Rees’s Gone Platinum, was beaten the minimum official distance – a nose – by fellow Pembrokeshire trainer Peter Bowen’s Dr Robin, ridden by his son Sean Bowen.
Earlier in the afternoon, Rees’ Atlantic Storm had been successful at Stratford so Dai still had something to smile about.
One of Ffos Las’s biggest days of the year was blessed with warm autumn sunshine and perfect good to soft going.
The card began with the first division of a 3m handicap hurdle. Robert Hawker, riding his father Richard’s Gentleman Farmer (8/1), led virtually all the way.
Three out his lead wasn’t big, but no serious challenge emerged until the run-in. Gold Bonne Raine threatened briefly, but the leader galloped on gamely to win by a length.
The second division was won by Gonnabegood (7/2 fav). He, too, made most of the running.
Gardiners Hill was produced with what looked like a decisive run at the final flight, but the leader refused to be passed and kept on valiantly for a three-quarter length victory.
Jeremy Scott trained the winner and Matt Griffiths rode him.
Messrs Scott and Griffiths combined again in the 2m mares’ maiden hurdle with Our Dot’s Baby (25/1), another successful front-runner.
The odds-on Etamine Du Cochet moved into second place approaching the last, but could make no further progress. The leader (who won an Irish point-to-point a year ago) stayed on well to win by a length and three quarters.
The fourth race, a 2m4f claiming chase, saw yet another winner who led more or less all the way. It was the Olly Murphy-trained Candy Burg, whose record of six wins from 21 races accounted for him being made the 15/8 favourite.
Coming up the home straight Tornado In Milan was the only one who could stay in touch, but Gavin Sheehan was relatively untroubled to bring Candy Burg home two and a half lengths ahead.
Horses with decent hurdles form turned out for the 2m5f novices chase. Bags Groove (8/1) took the lead four out and jumped pretty well to score for Harry Fry and Noel Fehily.
He had had the benefit of a run over fences, which wasn’t the case with Jester Jet, the two-length runner-up and Tommy Rapper, who was third. Nevertheless, they ran well and all three could go on to better things.
Ffos Las Racedays
November 23 • 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
December 9 • 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
December 17 • 11am – 6pm