Milton Bradley's career celebrated at Chepstow as Welsh crowds return on Friday
Chepstow celebrates two important landmarks on Friday as it becomes the first racecourse in Wales to welcome back crowds.
It follows the announcement last week by first minister Mark Drakeford that up to 4,000 spectators can be accommodated at outdoor events as part of the move to Covid-19 alert level one.
Owners in Wales were allowed back on course at the start of April but with health a devolved matter, spectators have had to wait in the Principality while racecourses in England and Scotland began hosting limited crowds from May 17. The last paying crowd at Chepstow was in January 2020.
The easing of restrictions has persuaded the Chepstow executive to theme the day around a celebration of the career of trainer Milton Bradley, who was based opposite the track on the English side of the River Wye at Sedbury and who retired after 53 years with a licence in January.
Eddie Hayward, a longtime owner with Bradley, sponsors the card through Chepstow International Hire, while the race names recall some of Bradley's most popular and successful horses.
"We wanted to do something to mark Milton's incredible 53 years in the sport," said Phil Bell, Cheptsow chief executive. "So many of his horses have been household names over the decades and his contribution to horse racing has been significant.
"Friday is simply an opportunity from his local course to recognise his amazing career."
After the opening Milton Bradley Celebration Race Day Handicap at 1.25, the trainer's classiest former inmate is recalled in the Chepstow Plant International The Tatling Handicap (2.00) over five furlongs.
The Tatling was originally claimed for £15,000 and the highlight of 15 wins for the yard was his 2004 King's Stand success at Royal Ascot, while his 176th and final start also ended in success at Wolverhampton in December 2011, just a fortnight short of his 11th birthday.
Bradley specialised in running up a sequence with modestly priced horses. The likes of Mighty Marine in the 1970s as well as Yangtze Kiang and Grey Dolphin in the 1980s went on quickfire winning sprees over jumps, while more recently Bradley replicated those feats on the Flat with Sooty Tern and Offa's Mead.
In addition to reviving memories of a fairytale career in the naming of the races, recorded interviews with a variety of jockeys who have ridden for Bradley will be shown on track and on Sky Sports Racing.
Tickets, costing £20, must be bought in advance from the Chepstow website, with sales closing at 11.25am on Friday when the gates open. No tickets will be available to purchase at the racecourse. All visitors who enter the racecourse must register for NHS Track & Trace.
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