WALES’ leading flat race jockey David Probert achieved one of the biggest successes of his career when winning the Lancashire Oaks on Horseplay at Haydock on Saturday.

This was a Group 2 event, one level below championship level-weights contests. It was Probert’s first such victory in the UK, although he has won three at that level abroad.

In a driving finish, Horseplay hit the front with half a furlong to go and battled on gamely to hold off her opponent by a short head.

Oisin Murphy is her usual jockey, but Probert was the man on board for two of her three wins. He’ll be hoping to keep the ride for her next outing, which could be at York or Goodwood next month, though trainer Andrew Balding is believed to favour a German Group 1 in early September.

Probert is having an excellent run. Since June 27 he’s had doubles at Bath and Chester before a treble at Wolverhampton, another double at Kempton and this Monday yet another pair at Wolverhampton.

What with Horseplay and a winner at Epsom his record in that period is 13 wins from 47 rides (28 per cent). A strike rate of 15 per cent would be very satisfactory for most jockeys. Twenty per cent is achieved only by a few top jockeys who ride the best horses.

At Sandown on Friday Ron Harris’ Country Rose blazed a trail like she did in the Queen Mary, but ran out of gas after four furlongs and her jockey – that man Probert – did not persevere when any chance of a place disappeared. Unless she can learn to settle her scope for winning races may be limited to fast five furlong tracks like Lingfield.

Turning to the jumps, Bernard Llewellyn’s Petrify won for the first time over hurdles at Newton Abbot, overcoming the disadvantage of being eight pounds out of the handicap.

Tried for the first time over an extended two miles five furlongs, and dropped into a seller, the eight-year-old finished fast to score by a short head in the capable hands of James Bowen.

He was helped by the horse he was pursuing, Clearly Capable, taking it easy on the short run-in and allowing Petrify to catch him on the line.

It's Ladies Evening at Chepstow on Friday, with racing beginning at 5.35 and Radio One’s Scott Mills DJing for 90 minutes after the seventh and final race. The winner of the Best Dressed Lady competition will collect £1,000 and there are prizes for as many as nine runners-up.

Air Of York’s 11th career victory came at last week’s Chepstow meeting and he is entered in the 6.10. He’s in good form, but he has rarely tried Friday’s trip of a mile and hasn’t won over it. There are sure to be some course and distance winners with form on fast ground, such as Caerwent trainer Chris Mason’s Edged Out, who is on a winnable mark in the 7.15.

Though none of the entries in the 8.15 have these qualifications, Starboy, who won easily on similar going at Brighton last week, should be hard to beat.