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Tredegar Farmers at Lower Machen
Sunday 13th May 2018
by Brian Lee

A huge crowd enjoyed some exciting racing at the sunblessed Tredegar Farmers' Hunt Point-To-Point Steeplechases at Lower Machen on Sunday. Racing got under way with the Iwan Thomas Memorial Restricted in which stable companions Chasing Casey, well ridden by Ben Jones, got the better of stable companion Shes A Gangster (Byron Moorcroft) to win by a length after jumping the last almost together. Chasing Casey drifted in the betting from 5-4 to 5-2 and Shes A Gangster opened at 8-1 and was backed to half those odds. Incidentally, Ben Jones had won on 33-1 chance Alottamo at Holnicote the day before for Vale of Glamorgan's Scarlet Major. Both the winner and the runner-up are trained by Amber Mathias at Tenby and the winner is owned by The Casey Club. Chasing Casey, who is by Milan, was beaten a neck by Kensington Castle over the course a fortnight earlier.

Cowbridge's Byron Moorcroft, 30, who is riding better than ever, went one better in the Confined race over two miles and a half by making every post a winning one on Luke Price's League Of His Own. They soon drew well clear of their seven rivals and went on to score by 12 lengths from Carmen Goldsworthy's Minella Arts (James King), "He won't stay three miles but I knew this was the best way to ride him over this distance." said Byron on dismounting.

There was a close finish to the Mens Open Race in which the eight-year-old chesnut gelding Kelsey (Patrick Bryan), who was pulled-up at the recent Cheltenham Hunter Chase meeting, got home by a neck from the mare Frelia (Bradley Gibbs). However, but for a mistake at the second last fence by Frelia when upside the winner the result could have gone the other way.

Pembrokeshire's Jodie Hughes, 34, was seen at her best when making all the running on Bridgend builder Roger Willcox's Patricktom Boru in the Skinners Ladies' Open Race to win by four lengths from Aerlite Supreme (Isabel Williams). At the Banwen on May Day Monday, Patricktom Boru and Jodie had beaten Aerlite Supreme's stable companion Hold Court by two lengths. Jodie, who is on the 79 winner mark, said "Now that Patricktom Boru has got the ground he likes he travels well, jumps well and stays well."

Llancarfan's Isabel Williams, who is making a bold bid for the national novice riders' championship, riding her father Evan's Burn Baby Byrne in the Young Horse Maiden jumped the second last fence alongside Tally Ho Doctor (Nick Williams) who failed to negotiate the obstacle. However, so well was Burn Baby Byrne appeared to be going that a win looked on the cards anyway. Owner/trainer Evan Williams who 24 hours earlier had saddled Haydock
Park's Pertemps Network Swinton Handicap Hurdle winner Silver Streak said, "I bought Burn Baby Byrne in Ireland where she had won a maiden only to be disqualified and she is now up for sale."

Stephen Kemble's six-year-old Another Drama, partnered by Irishman Tommie O'Brien who is something of a specialist when it comes to winning maiden races, landed the Open Maiden by half-a-length from Long Mile Road (James King) after Tinctoria (Lucy Brooke) the early leader had made a mistake at the penultmate fence. Another Drama, who went off the 4-6 favourite in a field of six runners, is qualified with the Ledbury Hunt and is trained by Sophie Lacey and in his previous start was close up when falling two fences from home in an Irish point-to-point.

On holiday from her home in Australia is Wales's most famous female rider who most enthusiasts will know as Pip Jones. Pip, who won the national ladies' championship on two occasions and booted home more than 200 winners between-the-flags, was lending a helping hand helping the winning connections celebrate their wins with a glass or two of bubbly during the afternoon. It was also nice to see veteran National Hunt trainer Dai Burchell enjoying an afternoon's racing after his recent stay in hospital.

Aberthin's Edward Vaughan, aged 10, landed both the 138cms and 148cms ponies races held after the last point-to-point race had been run. He took the former on his nine-year-old bay mare Little Replacement and the latter on his 13-year-old chestnut mare the prolific Peateaoh. The former beat Stretcholt Herme (Jack Osborne) with Megan Ridsdale taking third place on Ryehall Of Broadway and the latter came home ahead of Class Act Annie (Lily Llewellyn) and Don't Tell Dai (Jessica Llewellyn). Edward has now ridden 14 winners this season and this was his second double this year.

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