DOWN ridden by Robert Waley-Cohen became the first horse since KNOCK ON THE HEAD in the late 1980's to win the Welsh Point to Point Grand National in successive years, easily outpointing TREASURE AGAIN and BROCKBUSTER by a distance and 3 lengths.
Unfortunately the race was spoiled as a spectacle when DOWN'S main market rival GENERAL CUSTER slipped up on the flat after the fourth last, when holding every chance. His rider Evan Williams stood himself down for the remainder of the meeting.
The Waley-Cohens were recording a double with DOWN after IRILUT took the Intermediate race with a minimum of fuss from CRACKER TICKET, the only other finisher. IRILUT made all the running and impressed several judges with his relentless galloping and quick accurate jumping.
DETROIT DAVY won the Hunt Members race for the second year running when scoring a facile victory under Evan Williams from COSY RIDE and Lucy Rowsell.
Christian Williams took his season's tally to 11 when making virtually all the running on AKINA (NZ)
to defeat WELSH WARRIOR and COTTEIR CHIEF 20 lengths and 2 lengths in the day's fastest time.
AKINA(NZ) scored over hurdles in his native New Zealand and is believed to be the first horse to win at Awapuni and Bonvilston.
Ex-Irish novice hurdler SHE'S MY BABY and Tim Vaughan took the Marsh Private Clients TBA/PPORA Club Mares Maiden race by one and a half lengths from SOHAPARA with LITTLE ROSIE 8 lengths away in third place.
The first division of the Restricted race saw the most exciting race of the day with four horses holding every chance jumping the final fence. ITSALLUPINTHE AIR prevailed by a length from ALPINE FUGUE with TALYGARN a similar distance away in third. VALJEAN was not disgrace in fourth place. ITSALLUPINTHEAIR may have had some steering problems in the past, judging by the ironware in and around his mouth but Amanda Meakins has obviously found the key and they may well be able to successfully step up in grade.
The second division of the restricted was won by odds-on favourite DANTE'S PROMISE under Mark Walters. They were content to get a lead until challenging between the final two fences. Touching down in front after the last DANTE'S PROMISE beat SOUTHERN BELIZE by 8 lengths with IT'S FREDDIE a further 4 lengths away in third place.
Some racegoers started to drift away before the Maiden races, probably admitting defeat after trying to keep warm in the face of a biting wind, which did not relent at all during the afternoon.
However, both divisions had their interesting moments.BEAUCHAMP OBSERVER was the only finisher of four runners in Division 1. PAM'S OAK unseated her rider early on and then SNEEDHAM'S GREEN (Paul Callaghan) and MO'S GREY (Christian Williams) both pulled up with a circuit to run.
The Stewards enquired into the actions of Messrs. Callaghan and Williams but accepted their explanations that SNEEDHAM'S GREEN was hanging badly to the right and MO'S GREY was feeling her shins on the ground.
BEAUCHAMP OBSERVER under Nick Williams was making his seasonal re-appearance after spending the winter being regularly hunted by Pentyrch's Joint Master David Thomas.
Division Two was won by DEEP DALE and Tim Vaughan in effortless fashion from APRIL SANDS the only other finisher.
DEEP DALE, who looked exceptional in the paddock, was formerly trained by SUE LAMYMAN and had shown some glimpses of form on the flat. Although some of his jumping was sketchy he was able to make all the running and was never seriously challenged.
DEEP DALE continued trainer Tony Jeffries rich vein of form, with stablemate SHERBET FIZZ having scored over the previous two weekends.
While following maiden winners from uncompetitive races is a quick way to the poor house, both BEAUCHAMP OBSERVER and DEEP DALE may well be open to further improvement. Also make a note of AN FLORA fourth in the Marsh Mares race on her first racecourse appearance and certain to come on for the experience.
Evan Williams has been granted a licence by the Jockey Club to train under rules and his wife Carole will be now in charge of the Point to Pointers. Best wishes to them both.