Photos by Alun Sedgemore
Rain fails to ruin successful end to the season
The Pembrokeshire point to Point meeting was not graced with the best of weather conditions but supporters enjoyed the closing meeting of the West Wales season.
Starting quietly with a two horse race, the ‘Members’, in which Alan Johns and Makena came home alone after sole rival Mr Who unseated Ruth Birt-Llewellin with a circuit to go.
The ‘Restricted’ race looked a competitive race on paper and it proved so in running, Burren Chieftain and Alan Johns were sent off favourite with Alan looking for a quick double. However John Mathias on the Debbie Faulkner trained 3-1 shot One To Note had other ideas and under a positive ride overcame Rhys Hughes and Canndar by 8 lengths. It capped a successful season for John who has retained his Area Men’s title by a wide margin from nearest rivals Dai Jones and Kyle Yates.
James Hooper recorded his second career win when walking over in the ‘Men’s Open’ aboard his parents Made In France.
James has finished the 2009 season in second place along with Paul Tolman for the Area Novice Rider title, the winner being Nathan Deakin, whose third in the ‘Maiden’ race aboard Havajar secured a one point advantage over his rivals to land the Area Novice Rider title. Havajar had disputed the lead in the ‘Maiden’ race until Marc Barber on Sirrell Griffiths Ralahine took up a clear lead three out but Ralahine looked unhappy travelling downhill on the ground and was slowly reeled in by Dai Jones on the 25-1 outsider Chopras Choice who led after the last to record a three length win. This proved mixed emotions for Marc on the runner up, as he is also the trainer of the winner, who recorded his third training success of the season .
Three went to post for the West Wales Area Feature Race the ‘Ladies Open’ with Isabel Thompsett deputising for owner/rider Ruth Birt-Llewellin aboard Usk Valley. Ruth stood herself down from riding after her fall in the earlier Members race. Sent off the 8-11 fav Isabel made every post a winning one leading from flag fall to record a six lengths victory over the Worcestershire qualified raider Hi Tech Man.
Micks Prospect made his last attempt at Point-to-Pointing a winning one before embarking on what surly will be a successful career under rules in the concluding race the ‘Intermediate’, his third win from four starts. Always travelling well within himself and ridden with bags of confidence by Rhys Hughes the Abbie Vaughan trained 6 year old was able to repel the attentions of Tom David aboard Tanmya over the last two fences.
This brought to a close a successful season for West Wales with the future looking bright with many young jockeys progressing with invaluable race riding experience throughout the season. Despite the current economic climate, racegoer attendance has been good, with many making use of a fun day out for the family. Plans are afoot to start 2010 earlier with a possible Area ‘Club’ Meeting in early January, a public meeting is being held at the Nant-Y-Ffin, Llandissilio on Wednesday 1st July at 7:30pm to gage support of organising such an event.