The South Pembrokeshire Point to Point at Lydstep on Easter Monday was a story of mud and determination. The extremely experienced and longstanding organising committee under the Chairmanship of Haydn Mathias and Clerk of the Course Paul Williams were not to be defeated even by the West Wales weather and despite torrential rain on Sunday night, preparations for all eventualities were in place and the meeting went ahead. Additional stone had been delivered to the entrances and 7 high powered tractors were on site early on Monday morning. The generosity of the land owners the Mathias family, Mr and Mrs John Purser and the family of the late Mrs Meyrick should certainly be noted.
The first race was delayed as a crucial member of the medical team was stranded half a mile from the course on a flooded side-road, rescue tractors were dispatched and the Easter Monday enthusiasts who braved the rain were treated to some excellent racing. As the four runners for the Owen & Owen South Pembrokeshire Hunt race went down to the start, the rain eased a little, the mist lifted and Commentator Eddie Williams had sight of the entire track. The race was won convincingly by Way Wild West to make up the first leg of a 4 timer for jockey Bradley Gibbs who is making his mark on the National Leader Board. Way Wild West is trained by Amber Mathias, however husband John was deputising on Monday as Amber has just given birth to their first child, Ruby Kate.
The most popular winner of the day came next as Carmarthen Hunt enthusiast Bobby Thomas had a much deserved and long overdue victory on Padre Tito in the Castlemorris Equestrian and Pets older maiden. This horse has narrowly missed victory on so many occasions, owned between Bobby, his mother and his Uncle, Patre Tito has been hunted regularly with the Carmarthen and both he and Bobby represent the traditional grass roots of point to pointing so invaluable to our sport.
The seven runner, Lydstep Beach Village and Starre Gorse Farm Holiday Park Ladies race was won with a really competent performance by Isobel Williams on Hold Court, trained by Isobel's Grandmother Mary Evans. Hold Court is a local horse, qualified with South Pembrokeshire and was held up until three fences from home when Isobel asked him go and do what was required to win the race.
With the ladies race done, Bradley Gibbs really got to work taking the Ungoed-Thomas & King young horse maiden on Court in Flight trained by his father David Gibbs. He followed up with the NFU Mutual, Pembroke Brewery Inn, Cosheston and Sun Inn/ T-cars' Men's Open aboard Moral Hazard. The sponsorship partnership for this race is proving an innovative way of attracting sponsors for the more valuable races. Bradley completed his four wins with a really impressive victory by a distance in the Connolly's Red Mills Intermediate aboard another horse trained by his father, Thegirlfrommilan. David Gibbs has indicated he will seriously consider taking her to the Red Mills final in May.
The final race of the day, The Big Brum's Superstore Restricted Race was won by Mason Dixon (IRE) ridden by Byron Moorcroft and trained by Kieran Price the Presenting gelding just managed to hold off Chasing Casey and will surely appear again on the results pages before too long.
As the temperature dropped after the last race the bar made up for a smaller than usual crowd with organisers and other supporters celebrating that despite everything the weather had thrown at them the day had been incident free. With a late Easter in 2019 South Pembrokeshire with be dreaming of sunshine and a massive crowd to make up for the dent in the finances this year will undoubtedly have made.