• Posted: Thursday, 16th May 2019
  • Author: Carl Evans
  • Photo: Carl Evans

A chance to catch the latest point-to-point focus that appeared in the Racing Post on Friday, May 10.

The monopolies commission may have to consider the Welsh stronghold on the Fuller's Novice Men's Championship if it falls to Jack Tudor this season.

Tudor, who turned 17 yesterday, is on course to become the fourth teenager from Wales to win the title since 2014 when Sean Bowen took the prize. His brother James followed in 2017 and Connor Brace took the trophy last year. That trio became professional jockeys, and it is no surprise to hear Tudor ponder the same path.

He says: "I'm taking my category B test next week, which if I pass will enable me to ride against professionals. If that goes well I might make the change in the summer."

Cool and mature for his age, Tudor, who works for licensed trainer Christian Williams, has shown setbacks do not faze him. In November his leg was broken when a horse cannoned into him, yet he says: "I knew the Welsh season wouldn't get going until February, and when I came back from injury the leaders were only some five ahead. I thought, 'this title is still achievable'."

Tudor's father, Jonathan, who trains near Bridgend, rode 75 winners, while Jack's cousin, James Tudor, was British senior champion in 2007. Not surprisingly, pony racing played a part in Jack's tuition, but having a cousin who was regarded as one of the sport's finest was also influential.

Jonathan Tudor says: "Jack showed an interest in racing from the age of three – when he got on a pony all he wanted to do was gallop. James was his idol."

Ask Tudor Snr why Wales keeps producing such talent and he says: "The Bowens. When they started riding every kid in Wales had to raise their game."

Not that Tudor has the novice title tucked up, for while he has ridden 15 winners he is just four clear of Shropshire's Huw Edwards, 18, perhaps the season's most improved rider. His highlights have included Grimthorpe and Crudwell Cup wins on Heidi Brookshaw's Ballyrath.

Another Welshman, Bradley Gibbs, has cruised into contention for the senior men's title, which gained a new leader last weekend. Will Biddick's Punchestown victory on Caid Du Berlais was followed by five winners on the UK pointing circuit, carrying him to pole position with 33 winners. Three adrift is reigning champion Alex Edwards, who is two clear of Gibbs.

The last-named also rode five Bank Holiday winners, including three on horses trained by his father, David, who runs a seven-horse yard near Bridgend. Gibbs, 25, says: "To win the title would be a brilliant thing for us, but I don't have the ammunition of Will and Alex. I'm hoping a few Welsh stables will get behind me, and we'll be looking to run anywhere the ground is safe."