WHILE the eyes of the racing world were focused firmly on the Sussex Downs this week, there were opportunities for some of the lesser lights to shine at the various shoulder meetings which make up the UK’s varied racing programme.

Step forward 18-year-old Irish-born Rossa Ryan, an apprentice claiming 3lbs attached to the top stable of Richard Hannon.

A former Irish pony champion, Rossa came to Ffos Las with a full book of 7 rides. including 3 for his boss.

His early rides gave no cause for optimism but he then proceeded to ride the last 3 winners for a career first treble.

First up was Sicario for trainer Jamie Osborne, a comfortable winner in the 1m 2f handicap. This was quickly followed by Zalshah, who triumphed for the Hannon yard in the extended 7f handicap and an elated Rossa completed his treble aboard veteran Swendab for trainer John O’Shea.

This is a young jockey going places who is well worth his 3lb claim and his talents were used by 4 different trainers on the night.

The win on Swendab was winner number 24 for the season and sees Rossa go to the top of the Stobart Champion Apprentice table with a lead of one.

The ground at Ffos Las was 'good, good to soft in places' but picture the scene further East where Bath racecourse, the highest racecourse in the UK, was forced to announce their ground was officially 'hard' following a prolonged dry period and with no watering system in place to ease the going.

While trainers voiced their support for the consistency and safety of the ground on offer, the BHA, in consultation with the racecourse, decided the immediate fixtures were to be moved to other courses within the ARC group. The good news for local racegoers is the next two fixtures are being transferred to Chepstow Racecourse on Wednesday 8th and Saturday evening 18th August.

Chepstow already has a fixture on Thursday evening 16th August, giving this popular local track 3 fixtures in 11 days.

All credit to the hard working team for keeping the show on the road, with a particular mention for the ground staff who have the difficult job of producing a safe racing surface during this unprecedented hot spell.

Horse welfare is the number one priority and the ground staff must produce good, safe ground for the horses, which the Chepstow staff have consistently achieved by watering the track. This can be a long and arduous process to ensure safe consistent ground.

The National Hunt programme continues over the Summer period & it is great to see the Bowen brother Sean & James in the top 5 of the jockeys championship, with 29 & 28 winners respectively, father Peter continues to fly the flag in the trainers championship with 30 winners already this season which sees him in 2nd position in the trainers table behind pacesetter Dan Skelton but ahead of some illustrious names including champion trainer Nicky Henderson. Jump racing returns to Chepstow in October when they stage their high quality “Jump Season Opener“ fixture on Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th October.