MELISSA JONES SAYS: Union Rose is starting to bloom

South Wales Argus: SECOND: Union Rose (second right) finishes runner-up at Chepstow SECOND: Union Rose (second right) finishes runner-up at Chepstow

NEWPORT car dealership owner Adrian Evans has just about finished celebrating - after his bargain buy racehorse finished second at Royal Ascot at a massive 100-1.

Welsh trained, owned and bred, Union Rose comfortably paid for his purchase price in that Windsor Castle Stakes run alone.

Evans and family had kitted themselves out from top to toe thanks to a shopping spree in Abergavenny, and realistically they were just hoping for a good run.

But Union Rose surpassed all expectations, tailing the eventual winner Hootenanny and holding off all comers to retain second place.

The Welsh runner’s much more fancied stablemate Majestic Hero finished midfield.

Evans, 64, said: “Hootenanny was the pick of the horses the Americans brought over, the cream of the crop and for us to give it such a race it was phenomenal.”

The Welsh team celebrated with a glass of champagne before meeting their driver and heading back to Abergavenny, where the celebrations continued well into the evening at The Priory.

Union Rose is Evans’ first horse he has owned outright, following on from Xclusive who has recovered from a lung infection and is about to make a return to the track.

The car man is not a gambler but learned to love racing in the footsteps of his maternal grandmother who taught him about the sport.

“Some people dream of nice holidays, houses, and I always wanted my own racehorse,” said Evans.

Union Rose ran yesterday, finishing fourth of 4 in the Dragon Stakes at Sandown, possibly feeling the effects of his tremendous Ascot run.

Previously he finished second at Chepstow and landed a maiden at Bath.

“Proud is not the word,” said Evans.

“We love the Welsh connection to our horse and are very hopeful he will give us further success.”

MELISSA’S SELECTIONS: Haydock 3.30 Pallasator, Sandown 3.50 Night of Thunder, Leicester 4.00 Forest Edge, Carlisle 7.40 Ixelles Diamond

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