Curre & Llangibby
Bridgend builder Roger Willcox was delighted when his nine-year-old bay gelding Ace High Blue, a former inmate of Evan Williams's yard, romped home an easy winner of division three of the open maiden race at the Curre & Llangibby Hunt Point-To-Point Steeplechases.
Roger,well known in hunt racing circles, said: "Owing to the firm ground I wasn't going to run him but I changed my mind and he did it well clocking the fastest time of the three maiden race winners''.
Ace High Blue, well ridden by Josh Harris, took up the running five fences from the finish to win by a distance from Nodanawink (Nathan Deakin).
Tachbury, like Ace High Blue, is qualified with the Llangeinor Hunt and took the first division under Pembrokeshire's Paul Tolman. This seven-year-old brown gelding is also an ex-Evan Williams trained horse and led at the last to beat Stainless Steel (Byron Moorcroft) by two-and-a-half lengths.
" It has taken me a long time to sort him out but he is enjoying life now.'' said Pencoed's Julie Williams who was tasting success as an owner/trainer for the first time. However, Julie, daughter of Gwyn 'Gunmetal Boy' Williams, is no stranger to horse racing having ridden more than 30 winners and one on the flat when she was based with Richard Alner.
Tachbury was the first leg of a double for Pembrokeshire's Paul Tolman who also took the second division on Brian Jones 's six year-old bay gelding Enter Milan which scored by three lengths from Cilrhiwron (John Mathias). Tolman, who also trains the horse, has saddled four winners from his last eight runners and is extending his yard with another six boxes.
Tolman's partner Jodie Hughes did well to win the restricted on Luke Price's course winner Fordinkum which won by seven lengths from Clover Rock. "He jumped a lot better this time.'' said Jodie who unfortunately was taken to the Royal Gwent Hospital later in the day with a suspected broken collar bone after falling from the favourite WheresThePost in the race won by Enter Milan.
Rhys Jenkins's 14-year-old Strong Weld put in a bold and brave display of front running when landing the men's open race by three lengths from the French-bred Dreaux. Trained by Nicky Sheppard,Strong Weld clocked 5m 56s the same time as Chesnut Annie Took in winning the ladies' open.
In the AGA Ladies' Open Race, Beth Roberts' prolific Chesnut Annie, ridden for the
first time by Sally Randell, took up the running approaching the eleventh fence and
soon had her five rivals trailing in her wake and coming home a distance ahead of
Kisha King (Anna Metekhoy).
In a match for the members' race, James Colthart's eleven-year-old Winter Star, finished
Keith Pritchard's Chandlers Cross, ridden by Ogmore's Nick Williams, made nearly all to land the Confined by three-and-a-half lengths from the favourite City Affair (Tom David).The pair had jumped the second last fence together but Chandlers Cross, who was winning for the fourth time for his owner, proved the stronger.
What they said:
The Ystrad Taf Fechan Point-To-Point Steeplechases take place at Ystradowen near Cowbridge on Saturday (first race 2.p.m) and the feature race is the John Lovell Memorial Men's Open Race.