The Easter Monday weather did not disappoint at the idyllic Lydstep and neither did the racing. The car parks were full and the crowd got their spots early with their picnics, all ready for some action packed racing.
The Hunt Race went the way of home grown John Mathias and Harpsy Cord trained by Mathias' girlfriend Amber Griffiths. The offs on favourite made easy work of it, coming home five lengths ahead of Mathias' grandmothers Lydstep Hills, and Seondeok, ridden by local girl Jodie Hughes. This was the beginning of a double for Mathias, who later came home infront on the very impressive Desertmore View in the Restricted, who was left alone after the open ditch second time around, when both Romeo Is Bleeding and Milled unseated their jockeys. The winner came back in a quick time considering he was left alone for a mile, and there is sure to be more to come from this seven year old. The Dunraven Bowl looks a likeable option for connections.
Desertmore View's trainer Marc Barber also went home with a double, after Star Rise came out to win just two days after falling at the Monnmouthshire Point to Point. He made all under jockey Matthew Barber and was unchallenged in the 2m 4f Maiden. After coming home "bouncing" after Saturday, brothers Marc and Matthew though there was nothing to lose by sending him out again, and the better ground certainly helped. Owner Graham Garland, who hails from the Amman Valley, seemed keen to send his horse to the Aintree Bumper in May, which is a 'DBS Spring Sales Point to Point Bumper Final' and something new to this season.
The Open Maiden went the way of Jodie Hughes and Mister Bricolage, who came home a distance ahead of the rest of the field, after John Mathias and Glenteeneasaigh came to grief at the last when four lengths off the winner. The horse had been placed a few times under rules for trainer Mickey Bowen's father Peter, and is likely to go back under rules after the Point to Point season ends. Mister Bricolage's owner Heddwyn Jones is master of the Vale Of Clettwr Hunt, and has had a small number of horses with the Bowen's over the years.
This was the beginning of a double for Mickey Bowen, with Sir Du Bearn winning the next race on the card, the Mens Open. Ridden by Mickey's cousin Peter Bryan, the 18 year old timed the race to perfection, and nicked the race off Rosie's Peacock and John Mathias in the dying strides. This was Bryan's sixth winner of the season in Point to Points, and 9 over all. The horse had come home lame after a Hunter Chase at Kelso last time out, and after some rest for a couple of weeks Bowen said he's been fine since. He'll go to either Cheltenham or Stratford next.
Bowen has Bob's Law entered in the Aintree Foxhunters on Thursday, and says that he's a definite runner for the race, with usual pilot Ciarán Gethings on board. Another definite runner is Rob Luke's Chosen Milan, who came back the best of the Welsh finishing an impressive fifth in the Cheltenham Foxhunters. Luke's stable jockey Evan David takes the ride.
The Ladies Open was yet again a competitive race where eight went to post. The race went the way of Highly Unlikely for trainer Amber Griffiths – the third trainer on the day to go home with a double. Ridden by Charlotte Evans, the pair made all to come home a length away from the battling favourite Findlay's Find and Hannah Lewis. Pilot Evans has hunted the winner all winter, and trainer Griffiths said that the horse has to be kept occupied by doing different things daily. He's likely to stay in Ladies races for the rest of the season.
The winner of the last race on the card, the Restricted, went the way of Bradley Gibbs and Dunraven Royal. Gibbs kept the winner in rear throughout the race until making some great headway four out, and timing his ride perfectly to jump the last upsides long time leader Dream Bolt. Dunraven Royal eventually won by a length, giving Gibbs his second win on the horse this season.
The next West Wales Point to Point comes in three weeks, again at Lydstep. The Tivyside and Carmarthenshire kicks off at 2pm on Sunday April 26th.