by Alison Morris

Anyone who had out a few pound on Evan Williams winning the Welsh title would have left Howick on Saturday with a warm, glowing feeling. This talented trainer and rider graced the winners enclosure on no less that five occasions , and the bookies made sure that no one made too much money out of the fact as virtually everything Evan sat on was instantly made an odds on favourite.

The only decently priced winners of the day came in the Restricted and Ladies races. Bonny Rigg (16-1) and young William Oakes, were denied a race to the line by the fall of Under Milk Wood two out. "Dylan" as he is affectionately known, had set a strong pace from the ditch and although losing his lead as he ran into the closing stages was giving Louise Anderson a wonderful ride and his hopes of her first ever paddock finish. This in only her third ride in a point to point and to tackle the Howick fences at the pace she did is commendable, and no one was more upset than her when she hit the ground. After fifteen worrying minutes when the horse lay winded on the floor he thankfully got to his feet none the worse and is back to his usual laid back self. As someone commented to his disappointed if relieved
owner. "Never mind, the winner cost none grand and came from Doncaster. Yours came from Llanybydder!" Which goes to show that money does not always count in this sport, just bravery and dedication.

The Ladies winner was also handed a little help from fate when the well backed favourite Gregale lost her action in the home straight and was nursed home by Fiona Wilson and not given a driving finish to challenge Tickertys
Gift. Sadly the horse ambulance was needed to take Gregale off the track and although her injury is not life threatening it was a sad end for a six year old having her first run in a point to point.

Andrew Price took the members on the old favourite Twilight Tom and Steve Blackwell drove Reefer Dancer to victory in the final maiden rather gutting for yours truly as I wanted to buy the horse in Ascot and didn't have any
money at the time.

The rest of the day belonged to Evan Williams. Although Vals Well's walkover in the Intermediate was disappointing for race goers, it was another win on the score sheet. Another badly supported race was the Land Rover Open in which Sparkling Spring trounced his opponents, as did General Custer in the first division of the restricted. Cherry Gold duly increased his tally in the confined and Evan got onto one of David Brace's, Marico, to win the first maiden.

Although the day did not produce huge fields there were some good finishes, but having lost the whole season last year due to foot and mouth, it is a little surprising that there are not more horses ready to race.