David Probert celebrates 1,000th winner in Britain

Former champion apprentice records landmark success at Lingfield.

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David Probert was able to celebrate his 1,000th winner in Britain after Tronada claimed the Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap at Lingfield on Monday evening.

The Welshman moved agonisingly close to the milestone when Sepahi tasted success at Kempton on Wednesday.

Yet a winless weekend at Lingfield, Newmarket and Haydock resulted in the 30-year-old being made to stew before he was able to hit four figures with the Alan King-trained filly.

It was far from straightforward, even with favourite Red Secret withdrawn, but on his final ride of the night Tronada (7-1) won by a length ahead of Hammy End.

Probert – who in 2008 shared the apprentice championship title with William Buick – said: “Finally! It was great. I have had massive support from my agent Neil Allan and plenty of support from different trainers so I can’t thank them enough for giving me the opportunities.

“Yet to still find that one superstar, but hopefully it will come and hopefully within the next thousand winners.

“It is a milestone and a feather in my cap so I want to thank everybody that has supported me throughout my career.”

Trainer Andrew Balding has been a key figure, with the Hungerford resident securing the majority of his victories for the Kingsclere handler.

“I’ve been in there from day one,” Probert added. “I was champion apprentice with Andrew and have had plenty of good winners.

“He has been a massive supporter of mine since day one so a massive thank you to him and the team.”

Probert was first made aware of the approaching landmark at the end of last season – and feared he would have to wait a long time when the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK.

However, racing was able to return on June 1 and his fifth triumph since the resumption saw one of the in-form riders able to celebrate some personal history at the Surrey course.

Probert said: “I kind of knew last year, I had one of my better seasons – finishing on 112 – and my agent said ‘you do realise you’re only 20-odd winners away from a thousand?’.

“I didn’t realise (before) and ever since then I have been counting down, but obviously with the lockdown it was difficult.

“We are back racing and every racecourse has done a tremendous job with social distancing. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be racing so a big thank you to them.”

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