Countryside Alliance (Wales)
Photos by Alun Sedgemore
Local National Hunt trainer Evan Williams's right-hand men, Nick Williams and James Tudor, both rode winners at the Countryside Alliance Point-To-Point Steeplechases at Bonvilston on Bank Holiday Monday where, despite the 'attraction' of a flat racing fixture at nearby Chepstow Racecourse,a good crowd- which included long distance travellers hunt racing scribes Carolyn Tanner and Brian Armstrong enjoyed a splendid day's racing over the popular Redlands Farm Racecourse which had been watered daily leading up to the races by land owner Tudor Harris and his band of happy workers.
However, it was Pembrokeshire's Kyle Yates, 20,who stole the day's riding honours with a first ever double on Manormouse (Restricted) and Holmwood Legend (Intermediate) and more on Kyle later.
Meanwhile, Tudor, riding Musique En Tete trained by his cousin Jonathan Tudor, and owned by The WhiteBirdPryor Group - Jeffrey Bird,Colin White and Victoria Prior - jumped the last two lengths ahead of Iron Bay to take the open maiden race sponsored by Tudor's boss Evan Williams. Musique En Tete, a nine-year-old chestnut gelding, had been runner-up in his last three starts.
Nick Williams, standing in for the injured John Mathias, won the men's open, sponsored by bookie bashing National Hunt trainer Tim Vaughan, on the odds-on favourite Misamon who had five lengths to spare over Esters Boy at the finish.
The French-bred Misamon, who was winning for the third time this season, is owned by The Supreme Racing Club headed by West Wales National Hunt trainer Dai Rees and trained by Kristal Harris.
ManorMouse is owned by Adrian Simpson who has a high opinion of this six-year-old bay gelding by Luso. Always prominent throughout, ManorMouse drew clear three fences from home to win by five lengths from Treasured Coin. Sadly, ManorMouse's handler Beverley Thomas claims this could be her last winner as she will not be training point-to-pointers next season.
Mrs Janet Underwood's Holmwood Legend, a 1,600 guineas buy at Ascot three years ago, had his task made easier when the odds-on favourite Micks Prospect fell at the first fence.
A real old fashioned type of steeplechaser, this eight-year-old son of Midnight Legend finished a fence in front of the only other finisher Danny's Last.
Trained by Mrs Underwood's son David, Holmwood Legend had been runner-up in his previous two starts and was Kyle 'The Style's ninth winner of the season his best yet.
Ruth Birt Llewellin, riding her father's 14-year old Usk Valley -the oldest horse in the six runner field- came late on the scene to win the club members' novice riders' race by three lengths from the pacemaking Verchoyles Lad with the favourite Up The Boreen a further one and a half lengths back in third spot.
Bought at Ascot four years ago for 3,500 guineas, Usk Valley gave his 23 year-old rider her third success to date.
In the ladies' open race, The Wintle Family owned and trained Cotswold Vale Farmers invader Noadibou, a former inmate of Evan Williams's Llancarfan yard, opened up a 4-6 odds-on favourite but drifted to 7-4 to share favouritism with Chandlers Cross.
The latter, partnered by Lucy Pearce Rowsell, actually led at the last but the giant Noadibou - he's 17.1hh-ran on strongly to win by an official length with Colorado Storm , the early leader, a further two lengths back in third place.
"He's a real fun family horse'' said a delighted Sally Thomas who bought the horse on the recommendation of her daughter's boyfriend Andrew Hardacre an employee of Evan Williams.