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Golden Valley
Bredwardine
Saturday 16th May 2009
by Brian Lee

Tom David,18, from Llanharry, riding The Princess Royal's Dhu Loch, won the first division of the young horse maiden race at the Golden Valley Point-To-Point Steeplechases at Bredwardine and in doing chalked-up his first ever double.

Dhu Loch, the 5-2 favourite, well placed throughout, took up the running four fences from the finish to win comfortably by six lengths from Jolly Rock earning the biggest cheers of the day.

Princess Anne and her daughter Zara Phillips, who trains the horse, said they were delighted with the mare's success. Princess Anne told me in the paddock after the race that the mare had "made a more determined effort this time.''

Dhu Loch had finished second in her previous race at Ystradowen.

Earlier, Tom, who this week joins Tim Vaughan's Vale of Glamorgan yard as stable amateur, had won division two of the restricted on outsider Wizard Time who got home by a short head from L'Homme Sauvage with Bizarre Native just a neck away in third place and the first four home were all qualified with Welsh hunts. Wizard Time, who according to his trainer Jonathan Tudor ''has had problems'' is owned jointly by Jonathan's father William and William Corrigan. Butcher Jonathan, who also won a salmon in the hunt raffle, has had a lean time this season as Wizard Time is only his second winner.

Welsh riders in the wars were Tom David's younger brother Evan,16, who was rushed to Hereford Hospital with facial injuries after falling from Bred To Win in a division of the maiden and sustaining a broken nose and a badly bruised eye socket.And John Mathias who ended up in hospital after being knocked unconscious when falling from Opal Ridge in the men's open won by Novi Sad. The two fancied horses in this race both came to grief. Bowdens lane fell four out when looking to be skating up and BurntToOakBoy,a winner 24 hours later, ran through a wing early in the race.

In the ladies' open, Grasp, ridden by Sue Sharratt, scored by one and a half-lengths from the Welsh challenger Its Definite ridden by Jodi Hughes. Never travelling well throughout, Jody did well to get her mount so close to the winner.

Welsh champion Rhys Hughes and William Oakes were both fined £75 for overuse of the whip.Sirrell Griffiths, owner/trainer of the 1990 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Norton's Coin, had his first winner between the flags for many years when his U B Carefull romped home a ten lengths winner under West Wales's Marc Barber in the second division of the young horse maiden.

Sirrell told me he bought the horse for just 800 guineas at the Doncaster Sales last August and Mrs Griffiths said, "We named him U B Carefull because everytime I went to go into the stable Sirrell would say to me, 'You be careful!'''

On a personal note, I would like to thank the organisers of the Golden Valley for the hearty welcome I received and also to congratulate them on their sponsors tent which also provided their patrons with cigars. Unfortunately, for me that is, I had just eaten my sandwiches before being invited in there and only last week had decided to give up smoking cigars!

Rhys Hughes brought his season's tally of wins to 20 when landing the men's open race at the Weston and Banwell Harriers meeting on Steve Whistance's Overlut.The French-bred seven-year-old made nearly all to beat Tyneham by 15 lengths.

Welsh enthusiasts had plenty to cheer about at the meeting as Paul Miles's Lady Myfanwy, ridden by Alex Smith-Maxwell, had five lengths to spare over The Bandit in the ladies' open, Penhow's James Stephens won the restricted on Berkeley Court and Ogmore's Nick Williams forced Lockerley Man home to win by a neck in a division of the maiden.

It's a busy weekend again for Welsh enthusiasts with the Gelligaer Farmers at Lower Machen on Saturday and the Countryside Alliance meeting at Bonvilston on Monday.The Gelligaer Foxhounds held the first of their meetings at Blackwood in 1909 and in a marquee,where luncheon was served to the gentry, Lord Tredegar proposed a toast to the King congratulating him on his recent win in the classic 2,000 Guineas. Both meetings have a 2.p.m.start.

Well done to Cowbridge's James Tudor who recently notched-up his 150th point-to-point winner on Sir Ronan at the Vale of Aylesbury meeting. Welsh riders and horses have been enjoying a lot of success of late.

Simon Jones's Fruitfull Citizen, partnered by his wife Lucy, won a hunter chase at Towcester, Peter Bowen's Mr Ed scored at Cheltenham under Donal Devereux and Tom David won on Rien A Perdre.

Another good winner was City Affair who, ridden by Rhys Hughes, won at Aintree.

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