The South Wales and Monmouthshire point-to-point season got underway last Saturday with the Brecon & Talybont fixture at sunny Llanfrynach and one person who was there to welcome it in was Joanna Morgan, probably the most famous horsewoman in the world.
Joanna, who used to ride in Welsh point-to-points before leaving her native Wales in 1974 to work for Irish trainer Seamus McGrath, has ridden and trained winners all over the world and was the first of her sex to ride at Royal Ascot, where also she saddled Roca Tumu to win the 2013 Brittannia Handicap.
Joanna, who said she really enjoyed the afternoon's racing, saw Welsh champion rider John Mathias bag a hat-trick with Champagne Benefit (members), Rosies Peacock (men's open) and Desertmore View (restricted).
Champagne Benefit, who is by Beneficial, made it three wins in a row when finishing alone after sole rival Kerry Mganga had been pulled-up, the prolific Rosies Peacock held on by a length to beat Tiger Rag, partnered by Richard Patrick, and Rachel Hooton's Desertmore View, who made all to clock the day's fastest time, had 12 lengths to spare over the favourite Minellacelebration. Desertmore View, who is trained by Marc Barber, could be aimed at the Dunraven Bowl Novices' Hunter Chase at Chepstow on April 24.
Bridgend builder Roger Willcox had plenty to smile about. Patricktom Boru, which he owns in partnership with his friend Bill Corrigan, won the confined under Evan David and his Lauberhorn, a five times winner last season, took the ladies' open with regular pilot Anna Metekohy in the saddle.
Patricktom Boru, given a good ride by his rider, won by two lengths from Medicinal Compound after the odds-on Harpsy Cord (John Mathias) the early leader had taken a dislike to the open ditch on both circuits.
A mistake three from home by Chesnut Annie didn't help her chances in the ladies' open race. And at one time, when leading four fences from the finish, it looked like Highly Unlikely would go on to win.But by the time the last fence was reached Lauberhorn was back in the lead and went on to score by five lengths.
Chesnut Annie's owner/trainer Beth Roberts had some consolation when taking the first division of the open maiden with her seven-year-old bay mare Kims Quest who, ridden by Darragh Skelly, won by ten lengths from the favourite Milaneen.
Ogmore's Nick Williams landed the second division on Chris Williams's Fire Sale who came home four lengths in front of Tunnel Vision. Fire Sale is trained by former rider Dean Coleman at Amroth in Pembrokeshire.