HORSE racing is a game of patience. If you’re lucky you’re just waiting for the right race conditions, or the right ground for your horse.

If you’re less lucky you’re waiting for it to return from injury so that you can finally see the benefit of what you’re paying out all that money for!

Our local trainer Robert Stephens has been rewarded for his patience with the successful return of his highest profile horse Beltor, which won at Taunton recently after a long spell on the sidelines.

A winner on the flat as a youngster for Sir Mark Prescott, Beltor joined Robert Stephens in 2015 and won his first two hurdle races including the prestigious Adonis Juvenile Hurdle at Kempton. He then finished a creditable 6th in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and his connections would have been dreaming of great things. However, he lost his way a bit the following two seasons, winning just one all weather race before picking up an injury.

He had been off the track for a massive 624 days when he returned at Taunton just after Christmas, now as an 8 year old. It was a great training performance by Robert to have him back fit enough to win after such a layoff, and Beltor is likely to run again at Taunton next weekend so the dream is alive again for Robert and Beltor’s owner Alison Mossop.

Chepstow Racecourse Annual Members have been invited to visit the Robert Stephens stable at Penhow before a Chepstow race meeting in March, which is sure to be a popular excursion.

Shirenewton’s Grace Harris also produced a fine training performance to have Boutan finish 3rd at 50/1 at Warwick on Saturday after almost a year off the track. Boutan belongs to local owner Sue Maine, who also deserves credit for her patience with this horse. Grace did well during the summer with the fillies Mooroverthebridge and Bungee Jump and her best results recently have also come via the mares Field Exhibition and Boutan. Field Exhibition won on her debut for the yard at Uttoxeter just before Christmas, and she finished a good third under champion jockey Richard Johnson at Chepstow last Monday. Grace’s best known horse, the veteran Paddy The Oscar, is waiting for rain and softer ground before he can make his seasonal reappearance.

Trainer Ron Harris, from Earlswood, sent out a rare National Hunt winner last weekend – Texan Nomad sprung something of a surprise when coming in at 20/1 at Wincanton on 5th January. Ron Harris is best known for his success as a trainer of sprinters, and this was just his second jump winner, from very few runners, in the last five years.

Chepstow’s next race meeting takes place on Friday, 19th January. The weather has been particularly dry and mild so far this winter and the going is currently good to soft, good in places. This kind of ground is almost unheard of at this time of year at Chepstow! There are over 200 entries across the six race card. The first race will take place at 1.05pm. Full details can be found on the website