SATURDAY 24 APRIL 2004
by Ian Protheroe
A perfect viewing afternoon at what is probably the best supported meeting in South East Wales. The course at Redlands Farm is always well prepared, but this year was able to rely on nature to provide the good to soft ground – in recent years the course has frequently had to be watered for this meeting. The combination of fine, warm weather and good quality racing, including the Welsh Point-to-Point ‘Grand National’, meant a long queue of cars to get in, followed by even longer queues at the beer tent and ice cream vans all afternoon!
opening Members Race was won fairly comfortably by the odds on favourite
CANNON BRIDGE ridden by D S (Dai) Jones. The next horses in the market
failed to complete, leaving KHATANI as the only challenger on the final
circuit, but Cannon Bridge stayed on well to win comfortably.
Confined also had an odds on favourite in the form of NOAFF, whose most
recent form was 3rd in a Hunter Chase at Chepstow. However, the
race went to the steadily improving ROSTOCK, under the excellent riding of
Nicky Williams. ROSTOCK, a son of Roselier, galloped the rest of the field
into the ground and was always able to find a bit more to keep ahead of
NOAFF. However, his jumping caused a little concern to his backers at times
and will need to improve if he is ever to take on Hunter Chases.
Panacur sponsored mares only maiden was won for the second year running by
Dai Jones, this time on the 6-year-old RUBY DANTE. It will be interesting to
see if this mare makes the same progress as last years winner of this race
SOHAPARA, who went on to win the mares final at Garthorpe.
Intermediate was won by probably the most improved horse on the Welsh
circuit this year, GIPSY GIRL. This mare has now won a maiden, a restricted
and an intermediate in consecutive races. It was a very impressive
performance in a style which suggested that she could have gone around again
without exerting herself. This horse may also soon be capable of winning in
better company. (She was a late withdrawal from a recent Hunter Chase at
highlight of the afternoon was the Welsh Point-to-Point Grand National over
4 miles. Robert Waley-Cohen’s DOWN was attempting to become the first
horse to win this race 3 times. The English raider was sent off at around
4/5 favourite, and landed the odds easily from SPEED BOARD and a distance
clear of RED NECK in third. Basically, DOWN gave his supporters little to
worry about as he was the only horse in the field who appeared to truly stay
4 miles. On this performance I would only offer short odds on this horse
coming back to win again next year as a 14 year old!
restricted was divided on the day, with the 8-year-old maiden BILL HAZE
winning from joint favourite RAGWEEK in the first division. The other joint
favourite, PAMS OAK was in contention when making an horrendous mistake at
the final open ditch, but appeared full of running at the time. The second
division went to CAMDEN CARAMEL, who won easily in what appeared to be an
open race, when only 3 finished.
final young horse maiden was spectacular in a way that only maidens can! 14
horses set off, but only 10 were left after half a circuit, and only 4 left
one circuit later. With half a circuit left, the only 2 left standing were
the eventual winner ROBAOSTAR and THE LORDS CROSS. There were far too many
incidents within the race to describe, with horses falling, being taken out,
brought down and unseating their riders. The odds on favourite RESCINDO
apparently slipped up on the far turn after one circuit, but I can’t be
sure of this as there were ambulance personnel and veterinary staff rushing
around in all directions!
The next meeting here is Gelligaer Farmers on the 8th May, and the Countryside Alliance meeting 3 weeks after that. The course is only 10 minutes drive from junction 33 of the M4. Its easy access makes it well worth a trip down from England. Why not make the effort?