There is an old saying in
the Welsh valleys, "it might not be raining down there.Ē So with
this optimistic statement we left the blizzard soaked hills and headed out
west. Pleasantly enough it wasn't raining, or not as much, in fact Swansea
was bathed in sunshine, another planet almost. After a pit stop at
McDonalds and the usual argument over which roundabout we had to turn off
at we arrived at the new course (gates, very posh) too late for the
members but were soon filled on the antics of poor Paul Sheldrake, who
being the pathfinder on this new course forgot he had to go around three
times and pulled up, when in the lead with a circuit to go. Apparently the
loudest cheer of the day was kept for him when he re-entered the changing
tent with a very red face.
Evan Williams dominated
the rest of the day, winning four races on his own charges. Sparkling
Spring (confined), Cherry Gold (Intermediate), Court Leney (Maid Div 2)
and the final race of the day on General Custer who looked as though he
could have gone round again. The conditions underfoot were appalling and
it was a testament to Evans handling that all his horses finished so full
of running. One notable newcomer in the maidens was Nat Gold, out battled
by Court Leney on the run in. This full brother to Handsome Harvey will no
doubt fill the winners spot on many occasions to come.
Dai Jones was back in the
winnerís enclosure in the Men's Open with Severn Magic, after providing
some free rodeo displays in the paddock before the Intermediate. Christian
Williams had to watch Tim Vaughan steer Dalby Carr home in front of him in
the restricted, the horse is trained by Christianís father and is
usually his mount but today he had to settle for second on Cedar Father.
His own turn came in the first maiden when he steered Roger Wilcox's
Another Justice home in front.
If anyone had read the
Racing Post archives before the meeting they could have made a killing in
the Ladies Open when Santa Concerto, eyes shut tight at one point in the
hailstorm, romped home under Fiona Wilson. A former inmate of Lenny Lungo,
the horse had not run for two years but had previously earned a postmark
of 148, completed the John Hughes at Aintree and been aimed at the
Hennessey! A former Ayr specialist his previous trainer commented that
"the heavier the better now he's getting older..."; why didn't I
read that on Friday, not Monday!
Despite the freezing weather it was a good inaugural meeting, with only one severe shower, but when are these hunts going to learn that five pound a head entry and two pound for a race card is being a bit greedy. No wonder the crowds were so silent.