SATURDAY 12th APRIL 2003
by Alison Morris
After last years debacle it was a pleasure to see such large
crowds at Ystradowen on Saturday, the course (part of which had been
watered) was riding firm, but grass cover provided plenty of cushion on
the non-watered parts. The facilities were a little too compact, and the
walkway for the horses from paddock to track was a bit narrow, I would not
have fancied leading some of the horses I have known out with the crowd
that close to them. But these are minor hiccups and maybe with a little
bit of re-fencing the Ystrad can improve it.
Course wise the track rode much better than last year, the
only “dodgy” siting being fence 4 which is too close to the corner and
taking horses by surprise. This was proved by a few incidents at this
fence, and shortly after discussing the position of this fence with David
Stephens it was alarming to see his son Robert being carted through the
wings at that very fence. A discussion with the Point to Point committee
of the Ystrad will take place tonight, so watch this space.
The racing was good, and it appears that this course, like
that in Laleston, will bring horses together, as the twisting nature of
the track means that the long striding horses have to be restrained.
Christian Williams had headed off to Bangor that day, only to
find that his most hopeful looking ride Dorans Gold was a non-runner. Not
very happy, he will have been even more disgruntled when he found out that
younger brother Nick had pinched the win in the youngsters maiden on
Carling Elect, who had come down with Chris at Howick a month ago. Carling
Elect held on in a tight finish from BlackChurch Lass and Evan Williams,
whose day was shortly to go downhill with a horrible fall from Oo Eee Be
in the Open.
Jonathan Tudor had a clear out last season and had to watch
Good Morning win the older horse’s maiden for her new owner Glynis
England. It was a good piece of riding by young Robert Stephens and
rewarded a game little mare with a well-deserved victory after many close
calls in the past twelve months.
It was good to see Hee’s A Dancer and Roger Wilcox in the
winners enclosure after the furore of Monmouth. Emily and “The Dancer”
make a stylish pair and their victory was in emphatic style. Roger, on the
ball as ever, asked if he would have to go Portman Square to keep this one
The Men’s Open was won comfortably by Dai “No
Moustache” Jones and the lovely Moon Tiger. Another of Dil Thomas’s
home bred horses this is a horse with a heart as big as his body -which is
not small. Do You Know Wha’ had all the confidence of his jockey, Nick
Williams, but obviously went wrong, pulled up two out.
Andrew Hanly may only be a novice but he displays
considerable skill in steering the talented but very temperamental Spirit
Prince, and the outcome of the Nov Riders Intermediate was never in doubt.
Both he and his stablemate ValJean run well for their owner- trainers, who
have had their grounding in getting horses fit on the trotting circuit.
“Fizzy” got busy in the Restricted and followed up her
Monmouth win to make it two in a row. There was a minor tack crisis on the
way to the start, and maybe Dick Jones will have to take a pay cut.. !
Fizzy comfortably held off Gerry And Tom, who ran much better than he did
the previous week, and gave a good performance for a thirteen year old who
has hunted thirty three times this year! One small note of disappointment,
the victor’s trophy was a silver tray, which couldn’t be filled at the
pub that evening. The argument continued though over which of the horses
four owners owned the leg that crossed the line first.!!
A big weekends racing coming up, with one of the best supported meetings, the Pentyrch, to look forward to on Saturday, a Lydstep meeting on Monday and the Dunraven Bowl at Chepstow on Tuesday. Happy Punting!