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Saturday 5th April 2008
by Brian Lee
photos by Alun Sedgemore

Lough Ennel’s tough enough to clock fastest time of day

MRS Rae Jones’s Lough Ennel chalked-up his 11th career win at the Monmouthshire Hunt Point-To-Point Steeplechases when landing the men’s open race for the second year running.

Confidently ridden by Liam Payter, the 12-year-old ex-Irish chestnut gelding won by two lengths from Hope Sound clocking the second fastest time of the day.

Runners in the Men's Open Race head for the enclosures

Lough Ennel has been a credit to his connections rarely finishing out of the frame and was winning over the course for the third time. A five times winner at Howick, Lough Ennel is trained by Nicky Sheppard and Mrs Jones, a daughter-in-law of Welsh trainer Derek Haydon Jones, says Lough Ennel will, all going well, continue racing until the end of the season.

Lough Ennel and Liam Payter being led in after winning the Men's Open Race

The ladies’ open, the fastest race of the day, went to Lee Bridge’s Lunar Crystal who, under Lucy Pearce-Rowsell, ran on well in the final stages to hold off last year’s winner Fantastic Champion by two lengths.

Close finish in the Ladies Race

Lunar Crystal, a former inmate of Grand National-winning trainer David Pipe, was bred to win a Derby but was born with a deformed jaw and was the first horse in the country to have a pioneering operation to correct it.

Biggest cheers of the day went to Newport’s James Price who made every post a winning one when landing the second division of the maiden on the tail-swishing L’Homme Sauvage.

Runners and riders during the second division of The Open Maiden Race

James said: “I bought him in Ireland last year and he is the first horse I have owned and trained.”

He added: “His name means Wild Man but he is like a little lamb.”

L'Homme Sauvage and James Price jump the third last on the way to winning the second division of The Open Maiden Race

Dawn Tranter’s grey gelding Waddon Hill, well ridden by Hannah Lewis, was a popular winner of the intermediate coming home three lengths ahead of another grey horse Grey Kid. Hannah’s husband Adrian Wintle took the restricted on Kevin Young’s homebred Sparklinspirit who won by six lengths from Another Alliance.

Runners and riders for the Intermediate Race

Intermediate race winner, Waddon Hill ridden by Hannah Lewis, jump the second last ahead of Kings Reply and Tanmeya

Lorna Brooke won the first division of the maiden on Another Flint, whom she bought for 1,000 guineas at the Ascot sales, and the quirky Here To Eternity gave Donald Devereux, 20, his first point-to-point win in this country when comfortably accounting for the odds-on favourite One For The Lads in the members’ race.

One For The Lads and Dickensbury Way jumping the third last during the Members Race

Crossing the plough during the first division of The Open Maiden Race

Open Maiden Race (Division One) winner Another Flint ridden by Miss L Brooke

Apparently, there was a bigger crowd at Llanvapley for the point-to-point than there was at nearby Chepstow Racecourse where Nick Williams won the two-mile novice chase on the Evan Williams-trained Warpath and Pembrokeshire’s Rebecca Curtis saddled her first winner with Mango Catcher in the two-mile handicap chase. Evan is recovering from a hip replacement operation and enthusiasts will wish him a speedy recovery.

Congratulations to Blackmill’s Beth Roberts on saddling her first winner under rules with Chesnut Annie at Taunton last Thursday. Chesnut Annie landed the hunter chase under Isabel Tompsett coming home eight lengths ahead of the favourite Spuddler’s Dream.

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