A BLEND of youth and experience.

That was certainly the right formula for Pembrokeshire jockey James Bowen yesterday as the 16-year-old became the youngest ever rider to win the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow - aboard the oldest horse to win it in modern times, 13-year-old Raz De Meree. 

The result also saw Gavin Cromwell become just the second Irish-based trainer to win the title.

Despite being impeded by a faller at the first fence, the 2016 runner up and 16-1 shot beat Alfie Spinner by six lengths, with Final Budge in third.

And Bowen, the son of famous horse racing trainers Peter and Karen, didn't conceal his delight afterwards.

"It's amazing," he said.

"Once he got past a few horses he really took me and he won it in the end.

"You grow up watching these races, don’t you? If you’d told me I was going to win the Welsh Grand National a year ago, I’d never have believed you because I was still pony racing then."

Father Peter added: “He’s always been very, very competitive.

“I remember the first pony race he rode in when he was nine. He finished third and was devastated. He won’t give in to nothing, trains hard as well. He deserves it.”

Indeed, the win further enhances a meteoric rise for Bowen, from Letterston, who only notched his first point to point win a year ago. In June 2017, he broke the record for the number of point to point victories for a novice rider, sealing a 26th win at Chaddesley Corbett.