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Gelligaer Farmers at Lower Machen
Saturday 11th May 2019

by Brian Lee

The Vale of Glamorgan's Isabel Williams chalked-up her fifth point-to-pointwinner of the season at the well attended Gelligaer Farmers Hunt Steeplechases at picturesque RhydyGwern, Lower Machen, on Saturday. Isabel the 21, year-old daughter of leading Welsh National Hunt trainer Evan Williams has high hopes now of retaining her Welsh Lady Riders Championship title.

In a thrilling finish to the young horse maiden race, in which four of the nine runners were still in with a shout approaching the final obstacle, Isabel on the four-year-old ex-Irish horse Flash Klass won by just a length from the Jodie Hughes partnered MoreHurryLessHaste. Flash Klass is owned by Bridgend builder Roger Willcox and William Corrigan the heavy fabrication specialist and Mr Willcox who trains the horse said he backed his horse and also revealed that they had bought him from Ogmore By-Sea trainer Christian Williams. "He's a lovely horse to train but I had a job getting him here today as he didn't want to go in the horse box" said Mr Willcox never short of a word or two.

West Wales' Ben Jones, who has been making a name for himself this season, took the mixed open race on the Karen Hobbs's trained Princely Player and also the restricted race on the Amber Mathias trained Ardview Boy. Princely Player at twelve the oldest of the five runners was put in a handy position throughout and scored by three lengths from King's Cross and was chalking-up his third win on the trot, "He sulked and made hard work of it" said Ben who had an easier ride on Ardview Boy who always travelling well won by twelve lengths from the Bradley Gibbs partnered Five Gold Bars.

Three of the four entries for the members' race went to post and the blinkered Holy Water, ridden by Cowbridge's Byron Moorcroft and who had won the best turned out award, was made an odds-on favourite. However, 23yo James King, who hails from Gloucester had the eleven-year-old Ruperra Tom in a handy position throughout and went on to score by one-and-a-half lengths. James, who has ridden more than 30 winners under Rules, said "It was Ruperra Tom's jumping that won him the race." Ruperra Tom owned by John Rees and former Welsh champion rider Tim Jones and is trained by Pembrokeshire's Michael Bowen.

Merthyr Mawr's Jack Tudor took the three horse confined race on Desert Row after the odds-on favourite The Girl From Milan, who had tried to make every post a winning one, was pulled-up after jumping the eleventh fence after appearing to have broken down. Desert Row, a ten-year-old bay gelding, is trained by Jack's father Jonathan a former rider of note and was winning for the fifth time in all.

West Wales's Matthew Barber riding the well-backed Where Now ran out a three lengths winner of the aged maiden race finishing ahead of Buck's Best. He said "We bought the horse from Christian Williams seven weeks ago. He's a lovely horse and ran green today but has had some niggly problems but I told all the lads to back him."

Starting Prices
Members: Ruperra Tom (James King) 7-4
Confined: Desert Row (Jack Tudor) 9-4
Mixed Open: Princely Player (Ben Jones) 1-2 fav
Restricted: Ardview Boy (Ben Jones) 2-1 fav
Young Horse Maiden: Flash Klass (Isabel Williams) 6-1
Aged Maiden: Where Now (Matthew Barber) 2-1 fav


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