Organizing any event; especially an outdoor one, is always a challenge and can be subject to last minute changes and hiccups, but nothing could prepare secretary Liz Rooney and the committee of the Tivyside Point to Point races for the phone call at 7am the morning of racing with news that the paramedics team booked for the meeting, were unable to attend, leaving the meeting in doubt.
After many phone calls enough local paramedics willing to give up their spare time were assembled, but by now it was ten o clock and racing had to be put back to a 2pm start, instead of the scheduled 11am. Unfortunately the scheduled Pony Racing could not go ahead.
The course at Cilwendeg owned by generous landowners, Mr & Mrs Alan Bowen & Family had undergone a few changes with the sighting of new bends and first fence. These met with approval from jockeys, owners and trainers and with genuine good ground the course rode well and provided some good racing with exciting, close finishes, none more so than in the ‘Confined Hunts Race’ won by David Llewellyn’s Rosies Peacock.
Ridden by John Mathias, who went on to ride a treble at the meeting, the seven year old bay gelding held off the strong challenge of 1-2 favourite Silver Story and Rhys Hughes to score by half a length. Mathias was quick to thank connections for their loyalty to him riding the horse. Unable to ride the horse at the last Carmarthenshire meeting, the Llewellyn family were happy to wait for his availability and run at Saturday’s meeting instead. The Intermediate race at Lydstep on Easter Monday is next on the agenda, where a 5lb penalty should not inconvenience him.
‘Intermediate Race’ winner Rith Bob brought home more silverware for owner /trainer Dai Rees, providing Mathias with a quick double. Sent off the 1-2 favourite, this tough little mare will not been seen out again until the word ‘soft’ is back in the going description, as connections thought the going proved quick enough for her. As this was her third win of the season, it also puts her nicely in front of the competition for the Area Champion Horse title.
Both the Men’s and Ladies Open Races went to South Wales Horses. Nick Williams aboard the Jonathon Tudor owned Minsgill Mans, held off the Krystal Harries trained and 4-5 favourite Makena, by ½ length in the ‘Men’s Open’. Ridden by John Mathias, Makena, was asked to take up the running from Minsgill Mans with a circuit to go, by the Open ditch the race looked very much at Makena’s mercy but Minsgill Mans battled on when looking outpaced to join the leader at the second last and go on at the last to win by ½ length, his ninth success for connections
Sent off the 1-2 favourite, Cannon Bridge and Isobel Thompsett recorded the fastest winning time of the day with 5 minutes and 54 seconds in the Ladies Open. Owner Keith Pritchard will be receiving an extra financial reward for winning this race thanks to the race sponsorship of Brightwells Insurance and The Weekender newspaper; the race was part of their Order of Excellence race series.
Off The Shelf, a 2009 Ascot sales purchase provided joint owner and rider Lucy Jones with her first winner of the season when taking the ‘Restricted Open Race’. Ridden more prominently than on his first start of the season at Barbury Castle, Lucy, was content to sit in 3rd behind long time leaders Mr Who and Duggans Forge sending him on to win by 6 lengths from the 4-5 favourite Rimini, who was always struggling to land a blow. Off The Shelf returned the best priced winner of the day at 8-1.
The ‘Confined Maiden Race’ provided not only the third winner of the day for John Mathias but also the fourth winner of the day trained in Pembrokeshire. A homebred success for owner/trainer Phil Mathias, father of the jockey, the 6year old gelding Lydstep Hills, having only his second start of his career made light of his disability of having sight in only one eye when taking the last race of the day by four lengths. A very nice type of horse who is said to be “an old mans ride at home” he looks to have a bright future.
The combination of father and son had also proved a winning one earlier in the day in the Hunt Members race, when owner, Tivyside joint Master Robert Humfrey and his trainer /rider son George teamed up with Wheedle, comfortably taking the members by eight lengths.
The Easter Holidays sees the next West Wales action with two meetings being held at the Tenby course of Lydstep. The first, The South Pembrokeshire on Easter Monday the 5th of April and the Area Club Meeting the following Sunday the 11th of April, both start at 1pm.