Welsh Bowen Brothers Sean And James Ready For Cheltenham Challenge

The Bowen brothers begin their Cheltenham Festival campaign on Tuesday afternoon, with both young Welsh jockeys having rides in the early races.

James – who at just 16 became the youngest jockey to win the Welsh National in January – rides Shantou Flyer in the Ultima Handicap Chase at 2.50pm, with older brother Sean, 19, aboard Minella Daddy in the same race.

Before then, Sean is also riding in the opening race, the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at 13.30, on Simply The Betts.

James, who is tipped to become the next superstar of the sport on the heels of AP McCoy, also has rides later in the week – all before the former Fishguard High School pupil celebrates his 17th birthday next Monday.

Father Peter, the Pembrokeshire trainer, has said his sons were “sitting on horses before they could walk,” but James has said he never felt under any pressure to become a jockey.

James says: “I was never got forced into it, not at all, by my parents and I wouldn’t think I really started riding properly until I was eight because I wasn’t really interested.

“I got into it myself really. My parents have brought me up to ride horses but we were never pressured into it.”

Sean became the first 17-year-old to win jump racing’s apprentice jockey title – the Conditional Championship – in 2015.

He is also heading to Cheltenham on the back of four wins in a meeting for the first time, achieved at Hereford last Saturday.

“There’s not a whole lot of rivalry,” says James. “We’re definitely competitive, but we help each other our more than anything and it’s great to have a brother like Sean who can guide you a bit and give you the right instructions.”


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