THE WELSH Grand National at Chepstow has been won by a horse owned by a Gwent syndicate.

Iwilldoit romped home earlier today, winning the race by nine lengths.

The horse, owned by a Gwent syndicate - Oakdale-based Diamond Racing, and trained in Lisvane, Cardiff - won at 13/2.

It is the third year in a row the race has had a Welsh winner and the second successive year it has been run behind closed doors due to Covid restrictions.

Only five of the 20 runners finished the three-mile, 6.5-furlong race on a course which started the day soft but was heading for heavy going after morning rain.

Iwilldoit - trained by Sam Thomas - was ridden to victory by Stan Sheppard.

 

Diamond Racing racehorse syndicates was formed in June 1994.

The win is the biggest yet of former jockey Sam Thomas burgeoning training career.

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Thomas said: “I can’t put it into words. I can’t believe how emotional I am.

“I didn’t dare think for a minute that we were going to win. I know we had a chance, but it is incredible.

“I’m a bit overwhelmed by the whole experience, if I’m honest.

“It is tremendous to keep it in Wales. I am a proud Welshman and it hasn’t really sunk in. It is what dreams are made of, really.

“It is very bizarre being stood here in an empty stand with no crowd. It just doesn’t feel right, really.

“I have enjoyed every minute of that race, but my family should be here, the rest of the owners should be here, and it is a very sad day for racing, really. It just doesn’t feel right – 40 minutes away in Bristol there is a full stadium of people watching rugby. It is crazy.”

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He added: “Big targets keep your eye on the ball and it is what gets you out of bed every day.

“I have a fantastic team at home and this is a team effort.

“When he hit the front down the back and got into his rhythm, I thought all he had to do was stay on his feet really and he’d keep running is race.

“Stan gave him a lovely ride – it is a lot of pressure for a young jockey, but I’m delighted for him.

“He loved those conditions and bottom weight in those sort of races obviously helps in soft ground. Hopefully, I will be able to enjoy it a little more later.”

Iwilldoit began his career in bumpers during the 2017/18 season, showing promise in races at Fontwell and Bangor.

He successfully built on this when he was sent hurdling last season, finishing third at Kempton on his debut before winning convincingly at Bangor on his handicap debut in January of this year over just shy of three miles.

Additional reporting: Simon Milham, PA

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