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Gelligaer Farmers
Lower Machen
Saturday 22nd May 2010
by Brian Lee

Leading riders Richard Woolacott,John Mathias and Jake Greenall turned up at picturesque Lower Machen for the sunbaked Gelligaer Farmers where the ground had been watered ever since the Tredegar Farmers had been held there a fortnight earlier.

The going was described by jockeys John Mathias and Nick Williams as good and never before had so many national press reporters and photographers descended on a Welsh meeting.

Shane Marsh,aged 20, who has had only five or six rides, notched-up his first winner when taking the hunt race on Lester Leaps In whose only claim to fame had been in winning a two mile novice hurdle in 2007. All four entries faced the starter and in an exciting finish, Lester Leaps In won by three parts of a length from stable-mate Pollerton Boy whose rider Robbie Williams, well known on the pony racing circuit, was having his first ride in a point-to-point. Robbie's uncle, John Lewis Llewellyn, was aboard the odds-on favourite Sherfield Don which fell at the penultimate fence when challenging for the lead. The winner and runner-up are owned and trained by Marsh's step-father Paul Riddick. Marsh rides out for Vale of Glamorgan trainer Tim Vaughan who was there with his wife and children to give his support.

West Wales riders John Mathias and Nathan Deakin both had doubles.

Mathias,19, was successful on Rosies Peacock (confined) and Mac Two (restricted division two) and Deakin,17, with Grey Kid (mixed open) and Bunny McDougall (aged maiden). David Llewellyn's homebred Rosies Peacock scored by a length from 33-1 chance CountryCousin and Dai Rees' Mac Two had eight lengths to spare over the favourite Ben Tally Ho. Both of Deakins's winners are trained by Pembrokeshire's Wyn Morris who is enjoying a good season.

The game Grey Kid, who rarely runs a bad race, won by two-and-a-half lengths from the Mathias partnered Misamon and bargain buy Bunny McDougall, owned by his promising young rider, and described as "A bit of a monkey'' scored by two lengths from Little Miss Monty (Emily Farr) who came from 'out of the clouds' as one member of the national press put it.

In the first division of the restricted, which was divided on the field, Pembrokeshire's Jodie Hughes riding 12-1 chance Duggan's Forge, trained by her father Graham and owned by the Starre Gorse Holiday Partnership, beat her boyfriend Paul Tolman on On Oath by a length and in doing so rode her 30th winner (27 in point-to-points, 2 hunter chases and a hurdle race). A ten-year-old chesnut gelding, Duggan's Forge is by Glacial Storm.

Tolman gained some consolation when winning the young horse maiden on Catherine Rhead's SomeOfTheTime which beat Lady Trig (John Mathias) by two lengths.John Moore speaking on behalf of trainer Robert Scrine said of the seven year-old chesnut gelding: "He's a lovely horse so laid back and as green as grass.''

Winners starting prices

Members: Lester Leaps In (S Marsh) 5-1

Confined: Rosies Peacock (J Mathias) 6-4 fav

Mixed Open: Grey Kid (N Deakin) 7-2

Restricted 1: Duggan's Forge (J Hughes) 12-1

Restricted 2: Mac Two (J Mathias) 3-1

Young Horse Maiden: SomeOtherTime (P Tolman) 6-1

Aged horse maiden: Bunny McDougall (N Deakin) 10-1

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