John Mathais, a sixteen-year-old student, stole the riding honours at the South Pembrokeshire Hunt Steeplechases at jam-packed Lydstep on Easter Monday with a double on Corkan (members) and Howdydoody (men's open).
John, who is the son of Philip and Jan Mathias who farm part of the land the races are held over, has had only a few rides but one wouldn't haven't thought so the way he piloted 13-year-old Corkan to beat solitary rival Batchworth Lock by two lengths, after the pair had jumped the last fence together, and then bringing Howdydoody with a well timed run to score by just under two lengths from recent winner Titchfield.
John's father Philip and late grandfather Fred were leading riders between-the-flags as was his great grandfather Ivor Mathias.
He was presented with the Carl Llewellyn Challenge Shield which goes to the leading rider of the meeting.
Dillwyn Thomas's homebred Daisy's Rainbow, partnered by Welsh champion Dai Jones, took up the running approaching the last fence to beat the pace making Onlybegoneanhour by four lengths in the maiden race.
In the ladies' open, Dai Lloydd's Bobosh, who has never fallen in 62 races, and ridden by Chloe Roddick, got up on the run-in to beat Itsallupintheair, who had tried to make every post a winning one.
Mark Lewis on his father-in-law John Barton's Eastwell Violet came home a fifteen lengths winner from Arno River, after taking up the running approaching the last fence in the young horse maiden. Described as “a bit of a madam”, Mr Barton bought Eastwell Violet from Carmarthen's Alison Thorpe two years ago.
Isabel Tompsett riding Beth Roberts's Chesnut Annie was a length behind Hot Produxion jumping the last in the intermediate race. However, the mare jumped the obstacle so well she was able to overhaul Hot Produxion on the run to the line and went on to win by half-a-length.
Gemma Scarello's Flinski, who had led for a long way at Brecon before breaking a blood vessel, was backed from 5-1 to 2-1 in the restricted and his backers collected when Rhys Hughes brought him home a seven lengths winner of the restricted race.
Several regular hunt-racing enthusiasts complained to me about the skimpy odds the bookmakers were laying and I can only agree with them that this is nearly always the case when there are huge crowds of holiday makers in attendance as on Monday.
South Pembrokeshire winners
Members: Corkan (John Mathias) 2-1
Open Maiden: Daisy's Rainbow (Dai Jones) 5-2
Ladies' Open: Bobosh (Chloe Roddick) 6-4 fav
Young Horse Maiden: Eastwell Violet (Mark Lewis) 4-1
Men's Open: Howdydoody (John Mathias) 1-2 fav
Intermediate: Chestnut Annie (Isabel Tompsett) 7-4 fav
Restricted: Flinski (Rhys Hughes) 2-1