Jockey Adam Wedge survives two heavy falls then overcomes snapped saddle during the race to heroically ride Secret Reprieve to Welsh Grand National victory at Chepstow
- Adam Wedge heroically rode Welsh Grand National winner Secret Reprieve
- The 31-year-old survived two previous falls and his saddle snapped during race
- The 5-2 favourite, trained by Evan Williams, comfortably beat The Two Amigos
Jockey Adam Wedge survived two crunching falls and then dramatically performed a balancing act to win the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow after the girth – the principal support holding the saddle in place – snapped on his mount Secret Reprieve.
The 5-2 favourite, trained by Evan Williams, comfortably beat The Two Amigos three lengths but overcoming the opposition was the least of Wedge’s problems.
After his girth snapped, only the elastic over-girth, held things in place.
Jockey Adam Wedge rode Secret Reprieve to Welsh Grand National victory at Chepstow
The 31-year-old overcame two heavy falls in earlier races to heroically secure the victory
The 31-year-old jockey, who had taken thumping falls on Clyne and Esprit Du Large, said: ‘I knew my saddle had slipped from the second last but I wasn’t aware my girth had come undone. It was only being held in place by the over-girth which thank God we have.
‘Thankfully everything stayed in place. Fair play to the horse he stayed on a true straight line and he has helped me.
‘It’s a hard old game at times but winners like this keep us going. When you know you have a horses brought to the races in A1 condition you want to do everything you can to get out there.’
Wedge also then had to negotiate a broken saddle support to guide Secret Reprieve home
Williams added: ‘The biggest worry was when Adam was squashed on the floor and we didn’t think we’d get him for the race. Unbelievably, they patched him up and then his girth then broke. It is a mad old day and how it worked out.’
Secret Reprieve is a 25-1 shot for the Grand National but Evans indicated a shot at the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival might be a bigger priority for the seven-year-old novice.
Trainer Paul Nicholls had the Welsh National third in Yala Enki but still enjoyed magnificent afternoon with seven winners spread across three meetings.
The most significant came Kempton where McFabulous smoothly won the Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle while Master Tommytucker landed the Ladbrokes Silviniaco Conti Chase despite a heart-stopping blunder at the last after favourite Imperial Aura unseated David Bass at the second fence.
Wedge had to be patched up for showcase race after suffering nasty fall in Hanidcap Chase
Both were ridden by Harry Cobden and neither look certain to go to the Cheltenham Festival with Nicholls saying both looked more suited to the flat track at Aintree.
The 2m 4f Aintree Hurdle would be the race for McFabulous, who had finished third to Thyme Hill and Paisley Park in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury in November.
Nicholls said: ‘He will have an entry in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in case it falls apart but I think I will keep him fresh for Aintree. We tried taking on the stayers. He wasn’t beaten far at Newbury but I am not convinced I want to give him another hard race against those horses at this stage of his career when he will be a super chaser. ‘
Trainer Evan Williams (right) spoke of his delight at Wedge recovering from chaotic day
Meanwhile, trainer David Pipe landed his first grade one win since 2015 when Tom Scudamore-ridden Adagio won the Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow by two and a half lengths from favourite Nassalam. Adagio is now 7-1 for the Triumph Hurdle. Pipe said: ‘We learnt a lot when he was beaten by Duffle Coat at Cheltenham when we kicked on too soon. We’ve ridden him with more restraint since. He’s got an engine.’