Welsh Grand National: James Bowen on Raz De Maree becomes youngest jockey to win

James Bowen, 16, is the youngest jockey to win the Welsh National while Raz De Maree is the oldest horse at 13
James Bowen, 16, is the youngest jockey to win the Welsh National while Raz De Maree is the oldest horse at 13

Welsh 16-year-old James Bowen has become the youngest jockey to win the Welsh Grand National.

Bowen won aboard 13-year-old Raz De Maree - the oldest horse to win the event in modern times - on Saturday.

The 16-1 shot beat Alfie Spinner by six lengths at Chepstow in a race shortened to 18 fences from its usual 22, with Final Nudge finishing third.

"It's amazing. Once he got past a few horses he really took me and he won it in the end," said Bowen.

"We went hard early on and all he has done is stay on."

Bowen - from Pembrokeshire in west Wales and the son of trainer Peter Bowen - steered Raz De Maree to go one better than his 2016 runner-up spot behind Native River.

That saw Gavin Cromwell become just the second Irish-based trainer to win the title, following Notre Pere's 2008 success.

"He gave him a peach of a ride," said Cromwell. "He was flat to the boards down the back, but he didn't panic and he stayed on. This is fantastic, just brilliant."

Vintage Clouds, the 7-1 favourite, came in fourth in Chepstow's blue riband event on a heavy surface.

The race was initially due to take place on 27 December but was postponed because of a waterlogged course.

Analysis

BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

James Bowen, a product of the rich heritage of pony racing in Wales, already has a long list of admirers who believe he has what it takes to get to the top.

And less than a year after gaining his first win in a point-to-point, the teenager has only underlined that thought with a cool ride to win on old Raz De Maree.

He had to sit tight when the horse, the 2016 runner-up, was impeded by a faller at the first fence, and then galvanise him into throwing down a challenge from the fourth last which soon proved decisive.

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