MONDAY 1 APRIL 2002
by Richard Mordan
The early spring sunshine that had warmed the early part of the bank holiday weekend had long since disappeared from West Wales by Monday morning but the threat of patchy rain did not dampen the spirits of the Easter racegoers keen to egg on their selections.
The course at Lydstep is a rural delight. Punters can watch
the horses parade around the paddock against a stunning background of
Carmarthen Bay and Caldey Island before turning 180 degrees to watch them
race beneath a backdrop of lush, rolling green countryside.
The forecast rain arrived shortly before the first race, the
four runner members, ensuring testing going and plenty of work for the
tractor drivers in the car parks later in the day. The small field were
closely grouped on the first circuit but second time round it quickly
developed into a duel between the two market leaders De Chelley and
Longstone Boy, and it was the latter who was first past the post under
Christian Williams to justify his odds-on price with Secret Canít Say a
well beaten third and Celtic Friend completing in his own time.
There was drama in the 2 Ĺ mile open maiden when Bill Haze
ran out 2 out on the home turn when holding what would have surely proved
a winning lead. This enabled the grey Candlestone Castle, a 6 year old
having his first run and partnered by Nick Williams, to come home 12l
clear of Books Way in a time of 5min. 31sec. with the favourite Brombil
Lady, another grey, collecting the minor honours.
In the Ladiesí Open, favourite backers quickly knew their
fate when River Lossie unseated Miss A Meakins and muddied the yellow and
purple silks of Chris Brasher in the early stages. In a rousing finish,
Young Manny and Bridget Lewis prevailed by a length over Hurdante in a
time of 6min. 46 sec. with A Sip of Brandy back in third.
There was a field of fifteen for the mares only open maiden,
which quickly became fourteen when Spartans Dina and Charlotte Williams
parted company at the first. As they turned for home another thrilling
finish looked in prospect but at the second last a combination of
Dannyís Roisionís jumping and the forces of gravity left Nick Williams
on the ground and Poachers Paddy and Gareth Perkins with a commanding
lead. They went on to clear the last fence safely and won comfortably from
Daisyís Choice and Paul Sheldrake. Pryvate Time added the third place
prize money to his earlier best turned out award whilst fourth place went
to the previously unraced Dai Brace 5 year old Second Tenor ridden by
Eight went to post for the Mens Open in a race that developed
in to a battle royal between the Williamsí brothers and it was Christian
who prevailed on Never in Debt over Nick on the odds-on Touch Ďní Pass
to complete a double on the day. The winning margin of 10 lengths was
possibly a little flattering as they had raced neck and neck for much of
the second circuit and Touch Ďní Pass was eased right down over the
final few yards once his jockey had accepted the inevitability of second
place. The winnersí time was 6min. 33 sec. and only the two finished.
The time, you will note, was 13 seconds quicker than in the
Ladies Open. At a recent meeting I attended in the South East, the course
commentator suggested that the Ladies Open would be the quickest time of
the day as the horses were generally carrying a stone less than in the
other races. There, as with here, that proved not to be the case. Does
this mean that the horses in the ladies open are carrying the same weight
as in the other races and itís just that the ladies are saying itís a
stone less? Anyway, I digress.
The first division of the horses & geldings only maiden
attracted a field of five and there was another odds-on favourite in the
shape of the 6-year-old Nat Gold ridden by Dai Jones. Once again the money
of those backing odds-on, (were they All Fools?), stayed in the bookies
satchels as he pulled up before the end of the first circuit having never
travelled well. This left the race at the mercy of the second favourite
Grizzly Golfwear. Content to hack along behind early pacesetters Skimabit
and Romany Baan for a lap and a half he quickly scooted clear when Mark
Lewis pressed the accelerator and came home in 6min. 50sec. a distance
clear of the only other finisher the Henbit progeny Skimabit. Being a
local horse, Grizzly Golfwear proved a very popular winner and received a
tumultuous reception into the winnersí enclosure.
The second division attracted a slightly larger field, 8, and
was won by Alpine Fugue and Miss S Lewis. The minor placings went to
Cracker Ticket (James Tudor) and Roman Governer (H.Evans).
The afternoons entertainment concluded with the eight race, the restricted which was won by Dai Jones on Torus Star, a bay gelding described in the race card as aged (I know how he feels) from James Tudor earning another minor placing on Mecca Prince and Black Dan.