Robert Rowsell's Calies Old Vic caused something of a surprise when landing the men's open race at the Tredegar Farmers' Hunt Steeplechases. The 16-1 outsider, partnered by John Norman, took up the running two fences from the finish to score by one-and-a-half lengths from Grey Kid (Nathan Deakin) with the favourite Makena (John Mathias) a further three lengths away in third place.
Former rider Rowsell, who claimed he didn't have a penny on his charge, told me, " He's useless at home and as slow as a boat.'' The ex-Irish eleven-year-old,who won an Irish bumper in 2004, was one of only two of the nine horses-the other was Failte Arais- in the race without a form rating.
There was no such shock in the ladies' open and Beth Roberts' Chesnut Annie,who went off the 1-5 favourite, set a Welsh record when winning her 20th consecutive race between-the-flags (Tom Morgan's Mandryka graced the Welsh circuit for eight seasons and won a total of 38 ladies' open races, five men's opens and a hunter chase but as far as I recall never won 20 races on the bounce).
Winning rider Isabel Tompsett, who had been in the saddle on each occasion, on dismounting said: "Annie is back to her very best.'' It will be remembered the duo had had a close encounter in their previous race.
Simon Jones' Cutlass Silver, under horse dentist Jody Sole, took the restricted scoring a three lengths win over Blazing Scent(Keven O'Keefe). Jody,32, who mixes point-to-pointing with eventing, was full of praise for Simon saying: " I rode for him some years ago and he knows how to get a horse fit.''
Mr Doug Lloyd's Jackson Town, trained at Bromyard by Paul Davies, and ridden by Mark Jackson, made nearly all to win the young horse maiden and, despite making a mistake three fences from home, still had two lengths to spare over
Don't Be Short (Robbie Llewellyn).Backed from 5-1 to 7-2, this six-year-old bay gelding will now head for the Ascot Sales in June.
Nick Williams riding Helen Oakes's Synisterdexter took the aged maiden by three lengths from the fast finishing Little Miss Monty(Emily Farr).Trained at Merthyr Mawr by Jonathan Tudor, Synisterdexter, a nine-year-old chestnut gelding, is a former inmate of Welsh trainer Evan Williams.
Mrs Carmen Goldsworthy took the members' race for a fifth time when her Brecon & Talybont maiden winner On Oath, partnered by Paul Tolman, beat sole rival Musical Sleuth (Josh Harris) by 15 lengths.Mrs Goldsworthy had previously won the race three times with Red Neck and once with Polly Pringle.