RON Harris and David Probert were quick getting off the mark in 2020.

The horse in question was Equally Fast, who won a five furlong sprint at Lingfield on the second day of the new year. It was his first outing for Harris for over twelve months, during which time he had one solitary run for another stable. He’s hard to catch right, as his six victories have been interrupted by several sequences in which he’s finished well down the field. However, he is capable of running well when fresh and this was his first start since late October.

Harris’ regular provider of win and place prize money last winter, Viola Park, could run at Chelmsford on Thursday evening. Last December to March his form figures read 421246312. He was beaten a short head in his most recent race on 20 December and ought to add to his career total of nine wins before long.

Probert was in double-winning form at Kempton on Saturday evening, riding Stanford for his boss Andrew Balding and Be Fair for Tony Carroll. Unfortunately, the latter was tarnished by picking up a six-day ban from the stewards for applying the whip in the incorrect place. It is very unusual for Probert to get a ban, and even more surprising that he has been given such a hefty punishment. It doesn’t take effect until next week.

As is often the case at Chepstow in the autumn and winter, some promising types can be spotted. Last January Now McGinty beat De Rasher Counter in a novice chase, and they have gone on to much better things. At their first fixture of 2020 on Monday, Le Cameleon benefited from an ultra-confident ride from Chester Williams, who waited some time for a gap to open between the pair in front of him before dashing through it to score cosily. The jockey never had to go for his stick.

Later that afternoon, Lieutenant Rocco couldn’t have made a better debut over hurdles, leading all the way and shrugging off his only challenger with ease. He was completing doubles for Colin Tizzard and Robbie Power.

Admission is only £12 for Chepstow’s next meeting on Friday, 17th, if booked in advance. They are repeating the generous offer of a two-course carvery meal in the restaurant for only £45, including admission and a racecard.

Rugby fans should put Six Nations Raceday, Saturday, 22 February in their diaries, and come to Chepstow to get the best of all worlds. In addition to an afternoon of jump racing, the Wales v France game, due to start 4.45, will be televised around the course, all for just £10 if booked in advance.

Looking further ahead, the fixture on Grand National day, Saturday 4 April, will be rounded off by the tribute group From The Jam playing after racing. The first race is at 2.15 and the band will be playing after the final event on the track at 6.05, so it is going to be a very full day of entertainment. Prices begin at £20.