DAVID Probert has enjoyed a fine week, riding five winners to reach a total of 99 for the year as at the end of Monday’s racing.

A treble at Kempton last Wednesday was completed by Viola Park, a gelding who has been busy helping Ron Harris to end the year with a flourish as well. In December the horse has run three times, finishing fourth, second and first.

Back at Kempton on Friday night, Kyllachy Dragon gave the jockey winner number 98, which was Harris’ 26th of the year. It’s been the Earlswood handler’s best season since 2013 in terms of winners. This horse was having his first run for the yard, having been trained in the south west of Scotland until recently. He had finished either second or third eight times in 13 races, without winning any. His owner, Mr Middleton, decided that a change of scene would do him good and Harris worked the oracle straight away.

Probert’s 99th came at Wolverhampton on Saturday. That was Yasir, trained in Gloucestershire on the western side of the Severn by Sophie Leech. He had four chances to reach his century on Monday night, but came away without a winner. Frustratingly, his last ride, the well fancied 5/2 shot Red Chois, finished second in the final race of the evening.

At the time of writing, Probert has no rides booked for the rest of the week, so with Christmas fast approaching this may be the end of his domestic season.

In addition to his main stable, that of Andrew Balding, Probert rode for 122 other yards this year. However, his association with Harris goes back a long way and the trainer has been giving him as many mounts as possible in the last few weeks in the attempt to help him reach that elusive hundred. In 2018 he supplied 12 of Probert’s winners, second only to Balding’s 24.

Probert has topped the ton once before, in 2014, when he achieved a total of 107. This year’s performance with 99 is arguably more meritorious, for he was absent in all of January and February, riding overseas.

After Saturday afternoon’s racing there is none scheduled until Boxing Day. On the 27th it’s the biggest race day of the year in Wales.

Colin Tizzard’s stable has been in good form and his Elegant Escape has moved in to challenge Ramses De Teillee at the head of the Welsh Grand National betting.

The foremost South Wales challenge appears to come from the Vale of Glamorgan trainer Tim Vaughan. His Looksnowtlikebrian has won four of his latest five races, and though none over the full Welsh National trip, last time he triumphed by ten lengths over three and a quarter miles of the stiff Carlisle, “unchallenged” according to the Racing Post’s race-reader. There’s still some 16/1 available.

The other racing that day will be good quality as well. The juvenile hurdle was won last year by We Have A Dream, one of five starts in which he was unbeaten. In 2016 the winner was Defi Du Seuil, who was unbeaten in seven races that season and is now among the favourites for the JLT Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

The action gets under way at 12.30. Advance ticket discounts are still available.