Jockey Adam Wedge heroically rides Secret Reprieve to Welsh Grand National victory at Chepstow


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 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

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

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

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.’



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Truckers Lodge a hot tip to go one better than last year and win the Coral Welsh National


Truckers Lodge a hot tip to go one better than last year and win the Coral Welsh National… if event passes early inspection and gets the green light

  • Saturday’s rearranged Coral Welsh National must pass an early inspection 
  • If the event is deemed safe on health grounds then Truckers Lodge can shine 
  • Sportsmail tips the horse to go one better than last year and take top spot 

Saturday’s rearranged Coral Welsh National must pass an early inspection but if it gets the green light then take TRUCKERS LODGE (Chepstow, nap, 3.10) to go one better than last year.

The selection bumped into a well-handicapped and very well-supported winner 12 months ago in the shape of Potters Corner, but for a horse having just his fourth start over fences, he ran a blinder in the hands of talented conditional rider Lorcan Williams.

The Tenby-born jockey has struck up a good relationship with the nine-year-old, so much so that their unfortunate parting at Kelso in October when travelling well was the first time in six outings when the combination had not finished first or second.

Truckers Lodge, jockeyed by Tenby-born Lorcan Williams, is a hot tip for the Welsh National

That enviable record also includes the Midlands National in the spring, when the duo turned a competitive handicap into a rout to score by 18 lengths. And there is every reason to believe, with conditions to suit this afternoon, that Truckers Lodge can post another bold showing.

Bar capsizing at Kelso, the Paul Nicholls-trained son of Westerner has looked an assured conveyance over fences.

If he can find the same rhythm over the obstacles as he managed 12 months ago, his knowledge of today’s venue —112412 in six outings at the track — should also stand him in good stead.

The Coral Welsh National will have to face a late inspection before being given the go-ahead

The Coral Welsh National will have to face a late inspection before being given the go-ahead

It is not difficult to understand why Secret Reprieve has been ante-post favourite since the beginning of December.

A fluent 12-length defeat of The Two Amigos earned the progressive seven-year-old a 4lb penalty for this race as the weights were already published prior to that race.

However, if the handicapper had the chance to evaluate that victory again, then Secret Reprieve would have an extra 8lb to carry.

Sitting at the foot of the weights and hailing from a yard with an excellent record in staying handicap chases, it is not difficult to see why he is at the head of the market for today’s marathon.

However, at the odds Truckers Lodge is narrowly preferred with his stamina assured.

And there is a saying at the Nicholls stable in Ditcheat that ‘If anyone can, Lor-can’, so I’m happy to put my trust in the stylish Welshman to lift today’s feature.



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Robin Goodfellow’s Racing Tips: Best bets for Saturday, January 9


Robin Goodfellow’s Racing Tips: Best bets for Saturday, January 9

Sportsmail’s racing expert Robin Goodfellow dishes out his tips for Saturday’s meetings at Chepstow, Kempton, Wincanton and Lingfield.

Sportsmail’s racing expert Robin Goodfellow dishes out his tips for Saturday’s meetings

CHEPSTOW

ROBIN GOODFELLOW 

11.45 Pozo Emery

12.17 Cepage

12.50 Farrants Way

1.25 Adagio

1.58 Ask Me Early

2.30 Witness Protection

3.10 Truckers Lodge

3.50 Whiteoak Fleur

GIMCRACK 

11.45 Pozo Emery

12.17 Esprit Du Large

12.50 Storm Arising

1.25 Nassalam

1.58 Good And Hardy

2.30 Easy As That

3.10 Secret Reprieve

3.50 Whiteoak Fleur

KEMPTON

ROBIN GOODFELLOW  

12.05 Tinnahalla

12.35 The Domino Effect

1.10 Erick Le Rouge

1.45 Slate House

2.20 Mcfabulous

2.55 Imperial Aura

3.30 The White Mouse

3.57 Breffniboy

GIMCRACK 

12.05 Tinnahalla

12.35 Bobhopeornohope

1.10 Theinval

1.45 Guitar Pete

2.20 Summerville Boy (nb)

2.55 Imperial Aura (nap)

3.30 Solo

3.57 Breffniboy

WINCANTON

ROBIN GOODFELLOW 

11.52 Malinello

12.25 Leylak

12.58 Ede’iffs Elton

1.30 Sizable Sam

2.05 Protektorat

2.35 Evander

3.05 Anightinlambourn

3.45 Gardefort

GIMCRACK 

11.52 Flash Collonges

12.25 Leylak

12.58 Easy Bucks

1.30 Sizable Sam

2.05 Messire Des Obeaux

2.35 Gala Ball

3.05 Baignard

3.45 Zalvados

LINGFIELD 

ROBIN GOODFELLOW 

11.30 Subliminal

12.00 Discomatic

12.31 Starshiba

1.05 Make It Rain

1.40 Fraser Island

2.15 Scarlet Dragon

2.50 Corazon Espinado

3.25 Come On Girl

GIMCRACK 

11.30 Subliminal

12.00 Something Enticing

12.31 Going Places

1.05 Snow Ocean

1.40 Fraser Island

2.15 Scarlet Dragon

2.50 Iconic Knight

3.25 Mamillius

Newmarket – 1.05 Make It Rain (nap); 3.25 Invincible Larne (nb). 

 



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Robin Goodfellow’s Racing Tips: Best bets for Friday, January 8


Robin Goodfellow’s Racing Tips: Best bets for Friday, January 8

Sportsmail’s racing expert Robin Goodfellow dishes out his tips for Friday’s meetings at Lingfield, Southwell and Newcastle.

Sportsmail’s racing expert Robin Goodfellow dishes out his tips for Friday’s meetings

LINGFIELD

ROBIN GOODFELLOW 

11.50 City Derby

12.20 Master Burbidge

12.50 The Kicking Queen

1.20 Percy Prosecco

1.50 Glory And Honour

2.20 Hasanabad

2.50 Mengli Khan

3.20 El Kaldoun

GIMCRACK 

11.50 Titaneasy

12.20 Master Burbidge

12.50 Mondora

1.20 Percy Prosecco

1.50 No No Maestro

2.20 Whitlock (nb)

2.50 Reve

3.20 Barbados Blue

SOUTHWELL 

ROBIN GOODFELLOW 

4.15 Blue Hero

4.45 Greek Kodiac

5.15 Samovar (nap)

5.45 Artistic Streak

6.15 Ghost Rider

6.45 Heron (nb)

7.15 Gaelic Secret

GIMCRACK 

4.15 Blue Hero

4.45 Greek Kodiac (nap)

5.15 Oakenshield

5.45 Cheap Jack

6.15 Kevin The Minion

6.45 Para Queen

7.15 The Gloaming

NEWMARKET – 4.15 Smart Qibili (nap); 6.15 Time Frame (nb).

NEWCASTLE

ROBIN GOODFELLOW 

12.10 Becky The Boo

12.40 Jomont

1.10 Schalke

1.40 Moon King

2.10 Snookered

2.40 Sao

3.10 Brotherly Company

3.40 Bushypark

GIMCRACK 

12.10 Big Ears

12.40 Nans Gift

1.10 Geromino

1.40 Rayna’s World

2.10 Monsieur Co

2.40 Onthefrontfoot

3.10 Wye Aye

3.40 Bushypark

NORTHERNER 12.40 Jomont (nap) ; 2.40 Onthefrontfoot (nb).



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BHA may use rapid virus tests at racecourses if the Covid-19 situation continues to worsen


BHA may use rapid virus tests at racecourses if the Covid-19 situation continues to worsen

  • Racing continue behind closed doors with government-agreed protocols
  • Current system based on temperature checks and health questionnaires
  • The BHA may use lateral flow testing which gives results in about 30 minutes

The BHA have acknowledged that lateral flow testing may have to be introduced at racecourses if the Covid-19 situation continues to worsen.

Government-agreed protocols have allowed racing to continue behind closed doors based on temperature checks and health questionnaires. 

But with other sports experiencing increasing disruption, the BHA may use lateral flow testing which gives results in about 30 minutes.

Government-agreed protocols have allowed racing to continue behind closed doors

A BHA spokesman said: ‘We are constantly monitoring the situation and liaising with the industry and training hubs.

‘We take an agile approach and our protocols are reviewed on a regular basis to determine how racing can continue to strengthen our approach and best safeguard our people.

‘Should evidence show it is necessary then testing could be an option that may be helpful if the situation continues to worsen.’



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Robin Goodfellow’s Racing Tips: Best bets for Thursday, January 7


Robin Goodfellow’s Racing Tips: Best bets for Thursday, January 7

Sportsmail’s racing expert Robin Goodfellow dishes out his tips for Thursday’s meetings at Wolverhampton, Southwell and Ffos Las.

Sportsmail’s racing expert Robin Goodfellow dishes out his tips for Thursday’s meetings

FFOS LAS

ROBIN GOODFELLOW 

12.58 Windswept Girl

1.28 Ben Brody

1.58 Mere Anarchy

2.28 Lieutenant Rocco

2.58 Memphis Bell

3.28 Sandford Castle

3.58 Onethreefivenotout

GIMCRACK 

12.58 Saddlers Quest

1.28 Astra Via

1.58 Mere Anarchy (nb)

2.28 Muckamore

2.58 Memphis Bell

3.28 The Dawn Man

3.58 Super Six

SOUTHWELL 

ROBIN GOODFELLOW 

12.45 Lord Of The Alps

1.15 Thegreatestshowman (nap)

1.45 Pivotal Decision

2.15 Perfect Swiss

2.45 Samovar (nb)

3.15 Momtalik

3.45 Red Stripes

GIMCRACK 

12.45 Contingency Fee

1.15 Thegreatestshowman

1.45 Olivers Pursuit

2.15 Perfect Swiss

2.45 Samovar

3.15 Momtalik

3.45 Gossip

NEWMARKET – 12.45 Lord Of The Alps (nb)

 WOLVERHAMPTON  

ROBIN GOODFELLOW 

4.20 Space Kid

4.55 Liverpool Knight

5.30 Castlebar

6.00 Ten Chants

6.30 Firsteen

7.00 Tin Hat

7.30 Thai Terrier

GIMCRACK 

4.20 Spirit Of Rowdown

4.55 The Thunderer

5.30 Book of Secrets

6.00 Emerald Fox

6.30 Firsteen

7.00 Tin Hat (nap)

7.30 Thai Terrier

NORTHERNER – 7.30 Thai Terrier (nap)

NEWMARKET 4.55 Alto Volante (nb); 5.30 Castlebar (nap).



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King George and Cheltenham Festival winner Might Bite retired by Henderson


‘It was an amazing journey but not one without a few hiccups’: King George and Cheltenham Festival winner Might Bite retired by Nicky Henderson

  • The 12-year-old was the winner of ten races, four of them at the top level 
  • Might Bite memorably pipped stable-mate Whisper to win the RSA Chase
  • He held on in an exciting finish to win the King George VI Chase in 2017

Might Bite, the 2017 King George VI Chase winner, has been retired by trainer Nicky Henderson.

The 12-year-old subsequently finished second to Native River in the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup in a thrilling contest before winning the Grade One Betway Bowl at Aintree by seven lengths from Bristol De Mai.

But he never reached those heights again. Might Bite was beaten in his last nine starts, including a shot at the Cross Country Chase at last season’s Festival and being pulled up on his last run in the Grand Sefton Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree last month.

Trainer Nicky Henderson has announced the retirement of 12-year-old Might Bite

Most memorably, Might Bite won the RSA Chase at the 2017 Festival, rallying to pip stable-mate Whisper despite throwing away a 10-length lead at the last fence and veering violently right-handed.

Henderson said: ‘It was an amazing journey but not one without a few hiccups along the way.’

  • Goldikova, one of the best mares ever to race, has died at the age of 16. Trained by Freddie Head in France, Goldikova won the Breeders’ Cup Mile three times (2008-10).
  • Jockey Robbie Power, who has been based in Britain this season, announced on Twitter last night: ‘Due to the increased number of Covid-19 cases in Ireland and the UK and the uncertainty over travel restrictions I have decided to stay in Ireland with my family until restrictions ease.’
  • Thursday’s meeting at Musselburgh has been abandoned because of a frozen track and there is an 8.30am inspection at Ffos Las.



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Robin Goodfellow’s Racing Tips: Best bets for Wednesday, January 6


Robin Goodfellow’s Racing Tips: Best bets for Wednesday, January 6

Sportsmail’s racing expert Robin Goodfellow dishes out his tips for Wednesday’s meetings at Wolverhampton and Kempton. 

Sportsmail’s racing expert Robin Goodfellow dishes out his tips for Wednesday’s meetings

KEMPTON

ROBIN GOODFELLOW 

3.40 Trepidation

4.10 Fuwairt

4.40 Impeach (nap)

5.10 Banoffee

5.45 Tampere

6.15 True Destiny

6.45 Streamline

7.15 Equitation

GIMCRACK 

3.40 Trepidation

4.10 Henley Park

4.40 Acquisitor

5.10 Iesha

5.45 Tex Australia

6.15 Amtiyaz (nap)

6.45 Tranchee (nb)

7.15 Bowling Russian

NEWMARKET – 5.45 Tampere (nb); 7.15 Global Warning (nap).

 WOLVERHAMPTON  

ROBIN GOODFELLOW 

12.45 Super Julius

1.15 Batraan

1.50 Egotistic

2.20 Qaaraat

2.55 Toronado Queen (nb)

3.25 Elhafei

3.55 Greengage

GIMCRACK 

12.45 Jumira Bridge

1.15 Batraan

1.50 Deconso

2.20 Gigi’s Beach

2.55 Toronado Queen

3.25 Born To Sire

3.55 Thematic

NORTHERNER – 2.20 Qaaraat (nb); 2.55 Toronado Queen (nap). 



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Robin Goodfellow’s Racing Tips: Best bets for Tuesday, January 5


Robin Goodfellow’s Racing Tips: Best bets for Tuesday, January 5

Sportsmail’s racing expert Robin Goodfellow dishes out his tips for Tuesday’s meetings at Wolverhampton and Lingfield. 

Sportsmail’s racing expert Robin Goodfellow dishes out his tips for Tuesday’s meetings

LINGFIELD

ROBIN GOODFELLOW 

12.40 Durabella

1.10 La Tihaty

1.40 Swiss Pride

2.10 Jennivere (nb)

2.40 Ballydoyle

3.10 Passional

3.40 Murat Asset

GIMCRACK 

12.40 Maxine

1.10 Melody Of Life

1.40 Our Oystercatcher

2.10 Little Sunflower (nap)

2.40 Ballydoyle

3.10 Eastern Star

3.40 Corofin

NEWMARKET – 3.10 Passional (nap)

 WOLVERHAMPTON  

ROBIN GOODFELLOW 

4.10 Miaella

4.40 Gavi Di Gavi

5.10 One One Seven

5.40 Canimar

6.10 Blue Moonrise

6.40 Eldelbar (nap)

7.10 Secret Treaties

7.40 By Jove

8.10 Pocketeer

GIMCRACK 

4.10 Ballyare

4.40 Gavi Di Gavi

5.10 My Sister Jo

5.40 Canimar

6.10 Blue Moonrise (nb)

6.40 Eldelbar

7.10 Fard

7.40 Bay Of Naples

8.10 Complexo

NORTHERNER – 6.40 Choosey (nb); 7.40 Bay Of Naples (nap).

NEWMARKET – 4.10 Shamshon (nb).



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Cheltenham organisers prepared for event to be held with ‘small numbers of people present’


Cheltenham Festival organisers prepared for this year’s event to be held with only ‘small numbers of people present’ due to coronavirus restrictions a year after huge crowds sparked controversy

  • No spectators are currently allowed at British racecourses
  • Normally around 250,000 spectators attend the four days of the Festival
  • It was last major sporting event before the country went into lockdown 

Cheltenham are resigned to the fact this year’s Festival will be held with only around 2,000 people present each day — at best.

Now the country has been placed back into full lockdown, the track must make some key decisions over the next couple of weeks about the meeting, which starts on March 16.

Normally, the biggest jumps meeting of the year welcomes 250,000 spectators through the gates over the four days, 70,000 of them on the final day to watch the Gold Cup. Those scenes were condemned by some last March when the Festival was the last major sporting event before the Covid-19 crisis plunged the country into lockdown.

Normally around 250,000 spectators attend the four days of the Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham’s meeting last month had a crowd of 2,000 a day made up of owners, annual members and paying spectators.

Officials must also work out how to sustain the traditional challenge of Irish runners, with travel restrictions and isolation protocols still likely to be in place.

Ian Renton, the Jockey Club’s regional managing director, said: ‘We’ve accepted that it is going to be a different Festival this year. We have to be realistic that it is likely only small numbers of people will be present.

‘Let’s see where we are by March. We are focused on setting the stage for four world-class days, which are vital to many livelihoods in the British racing industry and will be enjoyed by millions on television.’

Jockey Club Racecourses, who own Cheltenham, have insurance which covers the majority of lost revenue, but not all of it.

The event last March was the last major sporting event before the country went into lockdown

The event last March was the last major sporting event before the country went into lockdown

With Festival revenues usually helping to support activity in the wider JCR group, the organisation still face a significant hit.

The Cheltenham Festival also usually gives the local economy a £100million boost.

Meanwhile, Kim Bailey-trained Imperial Aura, 7-1 second favourite for the Ryanair Chase, is one of the headline runners this weekend in the Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton. The winner of the Novices’ Handicap Chase on the opening day of last season’s Cheltenham Festival was the five-length winner of Ascot’s 1965 Chase on his latest start.

Elsewhere David Thompson, joint-owner of Cheveley Park Stud, has died aged 84.

He and wife Patricia bought Newmarket’s oldest stud farm in 1975.

Big-race winners on the Flat in their red, white and blue colours have included Pivotal, Medicean and Russian Rhythm. Their current jumps string is headed by unbeaten dual Cheltenham Festival winner Envoi Allen.



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