Home » Pembrokeshire jockey competes at Welsh Grand National

Pembrokeshire jockey competes at Welsh Grand National

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 14.49.5618- YEAR-OLD Pembrokeshire Jockey Sean Bowen was amongst the runners at the re-arranged Welsh Grand National, aboard the Rebecca Curtis trained Bob Ford.

Ford went off a 14-1 shot and led for much of the race, ahead of eventual winner Mountainous, as the leaders went off at a blistering early pace. After being rescheduled from Boxing Day due to horrific weather conditions, it was no surprise that the ground was heavy, and the stamina-sapping ground took its toll on the runners as they began to emerge up the back straight. Favourites Upswing, Cogry and Emperor’s Choice were never in the frame, as Saroque began to emerge as a rival to Bowen’s Bob Ford at the end of the first circuit.

That Bob Ford should be at the head of the field was no surprise to many racing enthusiasts, as he has a strong fondness for front running, but as the final bend began to grow nearer, so too did Mountainous. Unfortunately Bowen capsized on Bob Ford on the run in and it was left to Mountainous to claim victory, and the 11-year-old had no hesitation in doing so. Although Bowen narrowly missed out at the last during this race, he has been tipped as the ‘next AP McCoy’ and has received high praise from the man he currently rides for, legendry trainer Paul Nicholls, who said last year: “I always thought Sean was a great talent, but he’s just improved enormously. He’s got a great knack of making horses run, he’s very strong and for a 17-year-old lad to go and ride round there like that is just awesome.”

Sean is the son of Pembrokeshire trainers Karen and Peter, and with the family so steeped in racing heritage it is no surprise that he is on the path to greatness. He won the coveted title of Leading Conditional Jockey of season 2014-2015 after a battle that went down to the final day of his first season as a professional. He is the youngest ever winner of this title following in the footsteps of the sport’s greatest names.

Sean won two ‘Lesters’ at the prestigious 2015 awards night, was voted Conditional Jockey of the Year by his fellow jockeys, and was winner of the Jump Ride of the Year in a public vote. This recognition followed a successful career in pony racing and pointing. Then, still an amateur, Sean won on his first ever ride under Rules, and followed up with a win on one of his father’s runners in his mother’s colours. Sean had previously won the Wilkinson Sword awarded each year to the leading UK novice rider in point to points.