A bumper crowd attended the Pentych Hunt Point-To-Point Steeplechases at Redlands Farm, Bonvilston,last Saturday and the feature 'Welsh Point-To-Point Grand National' was a cracker with four of the eight starters still in with a chance two fences from the finish.
The race was first held in 1983, when it was won by the legendary John Llewellyn on Mr Moneybags and John- acting as a steward at the meeting on Saturday- won it again in 1986 on Team.
The race has been won by many well-known riders and these include Paul Hamer, who has won it a record four times. Sam Waley Cohen successful on Down in 2002,2003 and 2004, Tim Jones, Evan Williams,Jamie Jukes, Jonathan Tudor, Rhys Hughes, who has just announced his retirement, and John Mathias, who is making a bold bid to bring the national riders' title back to Wales, to name just a few.
Last year's winner Misamon, ridden by John Mathias, and the locally trained Kings Euro, partnered by Tom David, went off at breakneck speed and looked to have the race between them. However, five fences from home Galtee View (Joseph Williams) and Esters Boy ( Mike Byrne) started to get in on the act and by the time the penultimate fence had been reached all of those mentioned were still in with a chance. But it was Joan Williams's 12 year-old Galtee View which jumped the last just in front and who went on to win by two lengths from Kings Euro with Esters Boy a short head away in third place. Galtee View, a 12-1 outsider, and his young rider returned to the unsaddling enclosure to the loudest cheers of the day.Unfortunately, Joseph who was chalking-up his second winner-his first had been on Galtee View earlier this season - was soon brought back down to earth when in the very next race he took a first fence fall from Power King.
Pembrokeshire riders Nathan Deakin and John Mathias both rode doubles. Nathan, 17, who was riding his first ever double, won with Grey Kid (novice riders) and Hocinail (young horse maiden) and John scored with Balearic Star (confined) and Its Danny Boy( restricted).
Mathias, who brought his seasonal tally of wins to 25, was full of praise for the organisers for making the ground safe for racing.One hundred thousand gallons of water had been poured on to the track leading up to the races.
Grey Kid, who was landing a three-timer, made most of the running to win by 12 lengths from Twilight Dancer, who was finishing in the runner-up's spot for the seventh time in its last ten races, and Hockinail won by 20 lengths from Tachbury.
The French-bred Hocinail gave former National Hunt jockey Paul Goldsworthy his first win as an owner/trainer. Dewi Lewis's Balearic Star, which cost "less than a grand'' won by three parts of a length from Micks Prospect after leading two out and Its Danny Boy,owned and trained by David Brace, jumped the last in front to score by five lengths from the favourite Frenchfurze Lad.
In a match for the members' race, David Davies's West Bay,confidently ridden by David Prichard,18, outjumped the long-odds-on Oscarwood to win by a distance. The fastest winner of the day was Isle Of Inishmore who under Tom David came home an eight lengths winner of the aged maiden. A seven-year-old bay gelding, Isle Of Inishmore is owned by Somerset farmers Jeff and Rachel Frost, and trained locally by Abbi Vaughan.