Countryside Alliance Club (Wales)
Fine weather resulted in a record crowd at Bonvilston which had been well watered throughout the week and although there were a few slip ups on the bends, racegoers-the regulars and the once a year ones- witnessed some excellent racing.
The Nathaniel Car Sales Countryside Alliance Club Members Novice Riders' race was a real thriller with three horses finishing almost in a line. And the judge ruled that Mrs & Mrs Pugsley's Fully Loaded, ridden by their daughter Emma,aged 20, had won by a short head from Roznic (John Norman) with the gallant Grey Kid (Nathan Deakin), who had tried to make every post a winning one, a further short head away in third place. Norman thought that his mount, trained by Aberthin's Abbi Vaughan, had won and rode into the place reserved for the winner but, in my opinion and many others,the judge had called it right. Fully Loaded, by the stallion Needle Gun which is standing at David Brace's Bridgend stud, is qualified with the Devon & Somerset Staghounds and the ten-year-old bay gelding was recording his ninth win of the season and looks likes taking the leading horse title.
The Evan Williams Racing Four, Five,Six and Seven-Year-Olds Open Maiden race went to Beth Roberts's Copper Carroll who, under the new amateur ladies' jump jockey champion rider Isabel Tompsett, won by two lengths from Tachbury (Nathan Deakin) after taking the lead four fences from the finish. Copper Carroll, a six-year-old bay mare, "is the most expensive horse I have ever bought'' joked her owner/trainer who paid little more than a £1,000 for her in Ireland a couple of years ago.
The Tim Vaughan Racing Mixed Open race went to Dewi Lewis's nine-year-old bay gelding Balearic Star who drew away from the pacemaking Classic Chance (Nick Williams) at the second last fence to win by ten lengths with Galtee View (Joseph Williams) winner of the Welsh Point-To-Point Grand National over the course earlier this season, a further 12 lengths away in third place. Balearic Star, which went off the 5-4 favourite, was ridden by John Mathias,aged19, who is still in with a chance of landing the national riders' championship.
The Country Fresh Eggs Restricted race resulted in a 20 lengths win for Paul Goldsworthy's six-year-old chesnut gelding Hocinail who, well ridden by Nathan Deakin, made all the running- just like he did when losing his maiden tag over the course at the earlier Pentych- to beat Diddle'Em (John Llewellyn). Backers of the odds-on Pathian Prince (John Mathias) never had a run for their money as the seven-year-old bay gelding fell at the third fence.
Freedom Of Choice, a 25-1 chance, was a shock winner of The Welsh Game Fair Eight-Year-Olds And Over Open Maiden race. Owned and trained by local farmer Mike David, of St Mary Hill, this son of Beneficial jumped the last alongside the favourite Kyrano (Liam Payter) and went on to win by a length with Sodbuster a further 25 lengths away in third place. Freedom Of Choice,which cost just £850 at the Ascot Sales a couple of years ago, was ridden by John England brother of National Hunt jockey David England and according to his owner/ trainer, who was saddling his first winner in years, is so gentle at home that "a kid could ride him.'' John England, who rides out for Llan carfan trainer Evan Williams, was chalking up his fourth winner between-the-flags.
Llantrisant saddler Keith Pritchard was a little surprised when his eight-year-old Chandlers Cross (Paul Tolman) ran out a six lengths winner of The Llantwit Major AutoCentre Intermediate race from Definite Approach (D Turner). This eight-year-old chesnut gelding, trained by Paul Davies at Bromyard, had disappointed his owner when finishing out of the first three in the Dunraven Hunter Chase at Chepstow. However, on this occasion he showed a bit more sparkle and taking up the running three fences from home, the son of Rakaposhi King won easily enough. Paul Tolman who rides work for West Wales's Rebecca Curtis was riding his seventh winner between-the flags this season and he has also ridden four winners under Rules.
Spare a thought for young Evan David who dislocated a shoulder and a thumb when falling from Twilight Dancer in the novice riders' race.
Both pony races went to the odds-on favourites.Bugsy, ridden by Alice Tudor, won the 12.2hh race and Connor Flint, who will be fifteen in August, chalked-up win number 41 when when winning the mixed open pony race on the record breaking Stambrook Marquessa.