It was a day for mud larks on Saturday as Ffos Las was bathed in glorious December sunshine for the Carmarthenshire Point to Point. It was touch and go for the Carmarthenshire Hunt as to whether the day would go ahead as the rain hammered down in the weeks leading up to the meeting and it is a credit to the committee and all their helpers who worked so hard to make the day a success. They were rewarded by a fantastic days racing in a great venue as Ffos Las bravely supported and promoted our grass roots sport which allowed The Carmarthenshire to host their point to point in their own country for the first time in thirty-eight years. It was fantastic to see so many English horses run but the Welsh trainers and jockeys still managed to hold onto five of the seven races.
The first race of the day, The Carmarthenshire Hunt Members was won by the dip backed Manhattan Mead, trained by local trainer Paul Hamer and giving Ben Jones his 20th winner. It was the closest finish of the day as they came in just a head in front of Emma Mosely and Design Plan, Elen Nicholas aboard the favourite Hospital finished 3rd but was then disqualified for not weighing in, which moved Jack The Hat ridden by Mark Robinson into 3rd.
The second race The Jockey Club Open Maiden Race for Mares and Fillies kicked off the first of Welsh Champion Jockey, Bradley Gibbs' treble when he and Highway Jewel, trained by his father David Gibbs took over the lead from 7/4 favourite Jemma's Gift and Gina Andrews in the back straight and went clear. The pair then finished alone after Jemma's Gift refused the last fence.
The Open Maiden for horses and geldings was won impressively by the Mickey Bowen trained Hidden Cargo who was left clear after Thomas Faulkner's Dino Boy fell at the last when running a very good race leaving Guiding Stars in 2nd for trainer Jonathan Tudor. Hidden Cargo's jockey Peter Bryan said he felt he would have won regardless. 'He's like an open horse running in maidens, he's very good' trainer Mickey said afterwards 'We might aim for the Dunraven with him'
The Timico Mixed Open saw English trainer Jake Slatter win with Bally River Boy on his first visit to a Welsh point to point as he made all under James King to win from Union Jack D'ycy and Byron Moorcroft with 5/4 favourite Moral Hazzard and Bradley Gibbs in 3rd. Bally River Boy described by his trainer as 'quirky' had previously won three point to points and a hunter chase last season.
The fifth race of the day gave Bradley the second leg of his treble when riding the good looking Captain Mcginley to victory in the Restricted Race, it was an impressive comeback for Captain Mcginley who had missed the previous season due to injury. The pair made all the running and went clear from their rivals two fences from the finish to win from Honourable Henry in 2nd under James King.
The sixth race gave Ynysygol jockey Bradley Gibbs his treble and a double for his father, trainer David Gibbs as we saw Thegirlfrommilan skip home in the mud to win the Carmarthenshire Hunt Conditions Race, the game little mare was always handy and despite a mistake at the last still won by 10 lengths from Blazing Tom in 2nd and Kensington Castle in 3rd.
The last race of the day was the JRL Group Point to Point Flat Race -The first of its kind in West Wales which saw six runners line up at the start. The race was won by the 10/1 shot Dr Kanaga under Danny Burton and trained by Ben Clarke from Somerset, they finished ahead of Get Rio and Tommie O'Brien in 2nd, 4/6 favourite Geordie trained by Mickey Bowen and ridden by Peter Bryan finished just behind in 3rd.