SATURDAY 24 APRIL 2004
by Colin Cross
photos by Ann Riggs
A bumper crowd at
The highlight was undoubtedly
DOWN’S triumph in the Welsh Point to Point Grand National over 4 miles for
the third season in a row. Sam Waley Cohen was content to take his time in
midfield until well after halfway, gradually making progress on the final
circuit he headed longtime leader DAWN’S
DOWN is a credit to his
connections and it would be marvelous if he were to return next year and
make it four wins in a row.
Another hat trick seeker
DETROIT DAVY, in the Hunt race, came to grief at the eighth fence. The race
was won by the progressive
Another vastly improved performer, GIPSY GIRL with Marc Barber, turned what looked like a competitive Intermediate race into a procession when striking for home on the final circuit. She finished well clear of BARTON DREAM with CATECHIST staying on well to take third. GIPSY GIRL once again recorded the fastest time of the day and is still on the upgrade.
A most popular local victory
was recorded when BILL HAZE owned by Phil and Kath Dando took division one
of the Restricted under a vintage ride from Dai Jones, who was notching up a
Wearing sheepskin cheek pieces
and sheepskin noseband, together with a white blaze, racecourse commentator
Eddie Williams’s comment that BILL HAZE appeared to be eating a sheep was
close to the mark. Even BILL HAZE’S most ardent supporter would not call
him the most tractable of types and Dai had to be at his most persuasive to
keep his mind on the job.
He took up the lead early on the final circuit and was soon well clear, however, meeting the rising ground three fences from home RAGWEEK with Evan Williams started to make inroads into the lead. Just when the game appeared to be up, BILL HAZE ran on resolutely to record his first win with RAGWEEK second and HAIL STONE third.
Division two was a more prosaic affair in comparison and Tom Faulkner produced CAMDEN CARAMEL four fences from home to head long time leader LADY PALAMON and score a comfortable victory. TENACIOUS MELODY was third.
This win gave owner trainer Malcolm Jones a double as RUBY DANTE and Dai Jones had previously won the Panacur/TBA mare’s only Maiden race in emphatic style from COUNTESS KIRI and MODEST FORBIDS.
The bookmakers will have taken
a liking to RESCINDO this season. Once
again he was a warm order in the 5,6,7 years Open Maiden only to come to
grief on the first circuit. One by one the runners came to grief and it was
left to Tim Vaughan to steer home the blinkered ROBOASTAR, another one of
nature’s thinkers, to win unchallenged from the only other finisher THE
This was a superb day’s racing with DOWN the equine star of the show and Dai Jones, having been off the winners list for several weeks bouncing back with a hat trick and in doing so producing, in my humble opinion, the ride of the season on BILL HAZE.