by Ian Protheroe

It was a very pleasant Saturday afternoon when I made my way to Uplands Farm, Ystradowen for the Glamorgan Hunt point-to-point. It was by far the nicest weather that I have ever come across at this meeting. The course had been watered during the week, in order to counteract the unseasonably dry weather in the Vale of Glamorgan. Bright sunshine brought out big crowds and a good number of entries. Also, my 2-year-old son made his first visit to the races… start `em young, I say!

Unusually, the hunt had decided to do away with a members' race. The first race, therefore, was a young horse maiden. This was won by the favourite, CARLING ELECT, under the riding of Nicky Williams. There were further eye-catching runs in this race from the 5 year old BLACK CHURCH LASS finishing second and ROBOASTER a little further back in third. The second and third should both lose their maiden status before the end of the season.

The older horse Maiden attracted 13 runners. However, only three of these finished, with the favourite GOOD MORNING eventually prevailing over PHAR TO COMFY and the third CLONSHIRE CASTLE. It was only the second race for PHAR TO COMFY, and at the first time she has managed to complete the course. She should also be able to pick up a similar event in the near future.

The Gerrard sponsored ladies' open race attracted five runners. Going out on to the final circuit, the odds on favourite HEE’S A DANCER, written by the very experienced Emily Jones, took the lead and was never in danger. LAUREL SEEKER, under the riding of Amanda Meakins plugged on gamely for second without ever seriously threatening the winner.

The men's open race also became something of a procession. This went to the very impressive MOON TIGER, written by Dai Jones. This horse has shown very much improved form this season, having had to have two seasons off through injury. He had won impressively at Monmouthshire a week previously, and was also far too good for his rivals here. Although he went off third favourite behind POWERNGLORY and DO YE KNOW WHA in the betting, MOON TIGER saw off all of his rivals and eventually won quite easily by a distance from the veteran grey KERRY SOLDIER BLUE. It is hard to see any other horses on the Welsh circuit being able to challenge MOON TIGER when he is in this sort of form.

The intermediate race for novice riders also had five runners. The odds-on favourite, CHESNUT WOOD, had won twice at this course last year. However the early pace of the race was a rather slow, meaning that at the front running SPIRIT PRINCE was able to gain a lead without taking too much out of himself. His rider, David Hanley, therefore kicked on on the final circuit and CHESNUT WOOD was unable to get in a blow. In a faster run race, I feel that CHESNUT WOOD would have probably prevailed.

The final race of the afternoon was a Restricted which attracted nine runners. A number of these horses had shown reasonable form in maidens recently, but the favourite was MR NEMO, written by Robert Stephens, as Evan Williams had been injured in a fall earlier in the afternoon. However, MR NEMO crashed out through the side of the 5th fence, giving his rider a nasty shock and little chance of staying on. The eventual winner of this race was SHERBET FIZZ, ridden by Tim Vaughan, following up her recent maiden win. This horse also showed good improvement and the potential for more success before the end of the season.

The whole afternoon was very enjoyable and successful. However, the only minor complaint that I have to make is that there were only four toilets available for a very large crowd. It seems that some of the local hunts are trying to save money by reducing these facilities. (see the previous report about the Brecon meeting.). This is not the way to encourage new spectators to the sport!

I now look forward to next week's Pentyrch Hunt meeting at Redlands Farm, Bonvilston. This meeting features the four-mile Welsh Point-to-Point Grand National, and as I have mentioned before, this is always my favourite meeting of the year. I believe that this course will also be watered if necessary. This meeting seems particularly susceptible to the vagaries of the weather - this will be the 6th time that this meeting has been held at this course. The first meeting ever had to have watering, the next three meetings were abandoned due to a waterlogged course, and last year's meeting also required watering. Despite rain on Sunday, I suspect that watering will also be required this week!

I also feel that I should point out to regular followers of the Jumping for Fun site the excellent preview of the Glamorgan meeting published last week. If you had followed the advice given in this article, you would have backed the first five winners of the afternoon, only one of which was odds-on. A big thank-you to Mr Cross who compiled the preview. Let's hope he can be as successful this week!