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Pembrokeshire jockey Sean Bowen secures an impressive 100th win

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SEAN BOWEN secured his 100th win in the 2023/24 Jump Jockeys’ Championship today, dashing into an impressive lead as he looks to become Champion Jockey for the first time.

The victory was aboard Booster Bob trained by Olly Murphy, at Uttoxeter.

With the best part of six months of the season still to come, the Welsh rider has created a sizable break on the chasing pack, with a 34-point lead on fellow jockey Harry Cobden who is closely followed by Sam Twiston-Davies and Brian Hughes.

The 26-year-old has caught the attention of racing fans as a future Champion Jockey having enjoyed great success on the Point-to Points as a 16-year-old. The son of Pembrokeshire-based trainer Peter Bowen, Bowen won the 2015 Champion Conditional Jockeys’ title in his first full season as a professional and has since established himself as one of Jump racing’s top riders. His personal-best of 125 winners last season saw him fall 40 short of reigning Champion Jockey Hughes, but he has made a lightning-fast start to this campaign. He could even overhaul last season’s tally before Christmas after a superb summer.

Speaking on 2023/4 Jump Jockeys’ Championship, Bowen told Herald Sport: “Champion Jockey is the main aim for the whole season. I have got a nice lead, which is ideal going into this time of year, but we are only halfway through so hopefully I have got plenty of nice yards to ride for and plenty of nice horses to ride, which will provide me with enough winners from now till the end of April.

Working towards his main goal Bowen has had luck at several tracks and looks forward to some upcoming rides: “I have had a lot of success at Aintree and Sandown, so I personally love those two tracks. So, I would say the Grand National Meeting and the Bet 365 meeting at Sandown are my two favourite meetings.

There are plenty of nice novices, but you don’t really know until you run them, so the one I am most looking forward to getting back on is Noble Yeats who was a good horse for me last season, winning the grade 2 chase at Aintree and then went on to finish fourth in the Grand National and Gold Cup, so he was one of my best rides last season and I am looking forward to getting back on him again.”

When asked if there was a ride he has his eye on, he said: “I think everyone in the weighing room probably has the same answer to this question and wants to ride Constitution Hill, he is the horse that everyone would love to ride.”

A partnership with powerful Warwickshire trainer Olly Murphy has been key with the pair sharing 68 successes and it gives him plenty of ammunition going into the main jumps season. Bowen’s father supplied him with more winners over the summer months than any other trainer and the likes of Harry Fry, Martin Keighley, Ryan Potter, Gary Hanmer and even Sir Mark Prescott have all been keen to use his services. Gordon Elliott has also been a big supporter on the Irish trainer’s raids to these shores. Sean’s strength in the saddle and fierce determination gives the chasing pack a massive task if they are to derail his quest to be champion jockey.

Chasing Bowen are Brian Hughes, Harry Cobden and Sam Twiston-Davies. Three-time Champion Jockey and current title holder Hughes spoke to Great British Racing and gave an insight into the season ahead. Hughes acknowledged the struggles that come with the change in weather, along with his hopes moving forward, he said:

“I would like to just get some racing in and try and race some winners to be honest it has been a quiet for a couple of weeks now.

“I like riding Minella Drama, although he is not the easiest customer in the world, but he has got plenty of ability, so I like riding him.”

The pair have had four starts together this year, two of which ended in success at the start of the year at Kelso and Musselburgh. More recently the Green Day Racing owned horse secured second place at Aintree at the end of October, proving to be a favorable duo.

On his tail is Sam Twiston-Davies who looks forward to the upcoming fixtures, with his personal goals in mind, he said: “I always look forward to the November Cheltenham meetings, which are good fun. I don’t have favorites; I am in a lucky position to ride at a lot of the good meetings and try and enjoy them all.

Getting 100 winners in the season is something I always work towards, but it can be quite tricky.”

With 66 wins on the leaderboard Twiston-Davies is already over halfway to achieving his goal for the season which may not be too far-fetched for the 31-year-old jockey.

Second on the leaderboard but with high ambitions to make his way to the top is Harry Cobden. At the age of 24 Cobden has topped £2 million in prize money in three of the last five years and has achieved 21 Grade 1 winners.

He is hopeful for the months ahead, with several promising horses to join him on the track, he said:

“My standout would be Bravemansgame. We have got a few good hurdlers this year, Rubaud is quite a good hurdler and is probably going to be going to the Christmas hurdle on Boxing Day, so he would probably be our standout hurdler this year.

We have also got a lovely bunch of Novice chasers, one of the best would be Stay Away Faye, I am looking forward to him. We have some lovely novice hurdlers this year as well, the two stand out ones would be Captain Teague and Inthewaterside.”

Talking goals and the months ahead in the championship Cobden told Great British Racing:

“I would love to ride 100 winners this season and if I could ride five grade one winners that would be that would be a little bonus!”

He continued: “I am going to try and win the championship, but I am 34 winners behind Sean Bowen, so he is going to be very difficult to catch up. It is a matter of how well I get on between now and the end of the season in sixth months. It is going to be a tough task, and I am going to need a lot of support, but he is definitely the one to beat.”

With similar thoughts to Bowen, Cobden would also like to get a ride on the extraordinary Constitution Hill.

The winner the Jump Jockey Championship will be crowned at Sandown’s bet365 Jump Finale on Saturday 27th April 2024.

To follow the Jump Jockey Championship for the rest of the season, visit Championships – Great British Racing

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Cornerstone 4G phone mast unconditionally backed

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A NEAR 70-foot-high 4G telecommunications tower scheme in north Pembrokeshire has been unconditionally backed by county planners.

Applicant Cornerstone sought what – in planning terms – is called prior approval for the installation of a 21-metre lattice tower supporting three antennas and associated works on land at Castle Farm Villa, Llanreithan, Hayscastle.

A report for planners says the radio base station “would allow a shared rural network in this rural area of Hayscastle for two of the main operators, to provide 4G connection, which would provide a reliable and fast communications services; to facilitate significantly improved connectivity for residents, businesses and visitors to locality.”

The application was supported by local community council Brawdy.

Cornerstone, in a supporting statement, says: “To keep up with growing demand from mobile phone users we need to upgrade existing base stations or build new base stations. An upgrade can be done in a number of ways, often by redeveloping the site to enable an increase in the number of technologies, or increasing the number or height of the antennas. However, even after these upgrades, in some busy areas the demand for services can still exceed the capability of the local base stations.”

It adds: “We recognise that the growth in mobile communication has led, in some cases, to public concern about perceived health effects of mobile technology, in particular about siting masts close to local communities.

“Quite naturally, the public seeks reassurance that masts are not in any way harmful or dangerous.   We are committed to providing the latest independent peer-reviewed research findings, information, advice and guidance from national and international agencies on radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields.

“Cornerstone ensure that our radio base stations are designed and built so that the public are not exposed to radio frequency fields above the guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).  In fact, radio base stations operate at low power and emit levels of radiofrequency fields many times lower than the ICNIRP general public guidelines.”

An officer report says a site visit was carried out to assess the impact of the proposed development, considering that the siting and design of the mast and associated structures would be acceptable.

“As such, the prior approval of the local planning authority is not required,” the report concluded.

Recent plans by Cornerstone for a 20-metre-high, timber-clad telecoms tower on land opposite the National Trust car park at Trehilyn West, Trefasser, near Goodwick, were turned down by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park planners.

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Pembrokeshire stands against Israeli apartheid and Genocide

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PALESTINE solidarity groups in Pembrokeshire and West Wales are mobilising for a powerful protest in Haverfordwest, Castle Square, this Saturday 20th April at 2pm. They aim to vehemently condemn the relentless Israeli onslaught on Gaza and send a clear message to the UK government and local MPs Simon Hart and Stephen Crabb: End the complicity now! We demand an immediate ceasefire and an end to arms sales that fuel this brutal oppression.

The Nakba, or ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic, refers to the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Israeli forces, following the forcible displacement of 750,000 Palestinians (almost half the population) in 1947-49 in order to establish the state of Israel. Israel’s current assault on Gaza is an escalation of the ongoing Nakba and threatens to be the largest mass expulsion of Palestinians since 1948. The international community has an immediate responsibility to intervene to stop Israel’s ethnic cleansing today. Any delay in implementing practical measures constitutes complicity and/or participation in the ongoing Nakba.

This rally is a collective outcry against the crimes perpetrated by Israel and a rallying cry for the boycott of Israeli products.

“It’s sickeningly hypocritical that Israel strikes nations and communities first, claims victimhood when faced with resistance, and then receives unwavering support from the U.S., the UK, and Germany!” lamented one protester.

“For too long, the international community has turned a blind eye to Israel’s flagrant violations of human rights, granting it impunity while innocent lives are lost.”

“Six months of relentless violence. Six months of Israel slaughtering innocent Palestinians. Six months of Israel killing over 14,000 children! That’s an average of around 76 children a day and what has our government done? Profited from arms sales, turning a blind eye to the bloodshed,” remarked another protester.

This protest is a clarion call to all who stand for justice: It’s time to disrupt the status quo and challenge our complicit government. “We will never give up,” declared a participant. “To dismantle apartheid, we must disrupt the everyday and refuse to be complicit in Israel’s crimes against humanity!”

Join us at Castle Square at 2pm this Saturday to lend your voice to the 2 million people who suffer from a forced famine and brutal occupation in Gaza. Together, we will demand justice, accountability, and an immediate end to the bloodshed, the genocide and ethnic cleansing.

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Dragon LNG ‘monitoring’ scrap car blaze in Waterston

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A BLAZE has broken out at the Waterston Car Dismantler’s business in Waterston, Milford Haven.

Dragon LNG which is situated near the site said that the fire was not related to their operation and confirmed that the that emergency services were at the scene.

Residents living nearby have been advised to keep windows and doors closed whilst the incident is being dealt with.

“We are aware of a fire in Waterston with the emergency services present,” said a spokesperson for Dragon LNG.

“The incident is not related to Dragon LNG and Dragon Energy. We are monitoring the situation and are co-ordinating with the emergency services.”

A spokesperson for Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service told The Herald: “At 11.09am on Monday, April 15th, the Milford Haven, Pembroke Dock, Narberth, Fishguard, Carmarthen, Tenby and Haverfordwest crews were called to an incident at a commercial premises in the Waterston Industrial Estate, Milford Haven.

“Crews responded to approximately 150 vehicles on fire, at the height of the incident, 12 fire appliances were in attendance.  Crews utilised six breathing apparatus sets, nine hose reel jets, two ground monitors and approximately 1,000 litres of foam to extinguish the fire.

“Properties in close proximity to the fire were evacuated and nearby roads were closed.  The incident required a multi-agency response, with Dyfed-Powys Police, the Ambulance Service and the Local Authority also in attendance.

“Crews began to leave the scene at 2.11pm.

“Please be advised that as a precaution:

“If you are in an area still affected by smoke, you are advised to stay indoors, close windows and doors, and turn off any air conditioning or ventilation units.

“Motorists who must travel through areas still affected by smoke should keep windows closed, turn off air conditioning and keep air vents closed.”

(Images: M Cavaney/Herald)

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