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Gelligaer Farmers
Lower Machen
Saturday 21st May 2011
by Brian Lee

Bargain buy Findlay's Find -he cost his owners Paul and Myfanwy Miles from Merthyr Tydfil just £500- landed the mixed open race at the Gelligaer Farmers Hunt Point-To-Point Steeplechases in grand style coming home six lengths ahead of Chesnut Annie. Both the winner and runner-up are qualified with the Ystrad Taf Fechan Hunt and when Chesnut Annie, under her regular pilot Isabel Tompsett, went clear of Lucky Nellerie approaching the 12th fence, her backers could have been forgiven for thinking the 10-year-old mare was on her way to her 30th success.

But it was not to be as the remarkable five-year-old Findlay's Find, who was winning for the third time in just seven days, stays for ever and had little difficulty in passing his much older rival. Edna Hussey's Bob Bites Back, ridden by Nick Williams, who could have ridden the winner but stayed loyal to Mrs Hussey, finished a distant third. Williams had been aboard Findlay's Find when it had won at Laleston the previous Saturday and three days later when winning the ladies' open at Cothelstone, Claire Hart had been in the saddle.

However, the winning rider on this occasion was Richard Burton who is something of a legend in hunt-racing circles having ridden more than 400 winners and still counting!

He said: "They went off at a tremendous gallop but Findlay's is a smashing horse.'' Earlier, Chesnut Annie's rider Isabel Tompsett had won the members' race on Jason Parfitt's lazy grey Turbulance who had to be coaxed around by the reigning Welsh champion rider and eventually won by 15 lengths from Rich Nomad.

Mr Parfitt said: "Turbulance is a bit of a character and Isabel gave him a great ride.'' There was a good finish to the confined race in which former Dudley Cup winner Cottage River, ridden by Jodie Hughes, beat Hollow Ranger, ridden by Ben Poste, by three parts of a length. Princesse De Rome, partnered by Nick Williams, looked like winning but ran down the last fence and finished a further half-a-length away in third place.

Jodie,who is making a bold bid for the Welsh Ladies Championship, said:"I must have been two lengths behind jumping the last and this is my sixth winner of the season.''

Jodie's partner Paul Tolman took the restricted race on Dr Simon Clarke's ten-year-old Diddle'Em which jumped the last fence alongside Spring Haze ridden by Tom David. Diddle'Em, a 12-1 chance, won by two-and-a-half lengths and was winning for the first time in three years.

The biggest cheers heard at a Welsh point-to-point in years went to Paul Sheard who took the young horse maiden race on his seven-year-old bay gelding Gouranga Society. Paul,40, from Culverhouse Cross in Cardiff, survived a bad mistake at the 13th fence when leading the field a merry gallop but was soon back in the lead. Strongly challenged in the closing stages by Nick Williams on the fancied Glenseskin, Paul cheekily stood up in his stirrups just before the finish to win by a neck!

Paul, who is just 5ft 2ins, has only ever ridden one other winner and that was ItsOnlyMe which won the Welsh Point-To-Point 'Grand National' over four miles at the Pentyrch back in 2006.

Young Bradley Gibbs, who rides out for Aberthin's Tim Vaughan, recorded his seventh winner of the season when winning the aged horse open maiden on Paul Riddick's nine-year-old bay mare Sheer Brilliance which scored by seven lengths from Peterman ridden by David Prichard." It was the ear plugs that did the trick'' said Mr Riddick who had bought the mare just six weeks earlier.

There were no fallers or unseated riders during the afternoon.

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