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Vale of Clettwr
Erw Lon
Saturday 31st January 2009
by Amanda Meakins
photos by Alun Sedgemore


Laugharne resident Lucy Pearse-Rowsell only regained her Jockey’s licence days before the Vale of Clettwr meeting but signalled her return by taking the opening Hunt Members race aboard the Robert Luke trained Seaforde. Lucy sustained a broken shoulder last season at the Pentyrch meeting and after undergoing an operation in summer, knew she had a fight against time for the licence to be granted if the meeting went ahead on its scheduled date. All credit must go to the Vale of Clettwr team who had the course ready despite the wet winter and the determination of erecting tents in last week’s winds! A new paddock layout proved a great success for spectators and those involved with runners.

Jessica Jones (left) and Lucy Rowsell before the Members Race

The ‘Open Maiden’ race had already been split into two divisions, with the first proving the faster It saw Carmarthen’s Dai Jones back into the winner’s enclosure with Divine Delorme, whose trainer Marc Barber had opted to ride stable-mate The Sniper but the 6 year old mare which was pushed out by bookmakers from 3-1 to 5’s to attract some interest from the crowd came home comfortably by three lengths after early leader and 5-2 fav Trente Mars, unseated his rider 4 fences from home.

Dai Jones and Divine Delorme (No. 4) on the way to winning the Open Maiden Race (Division One)

The second division, jointly sponsored by Evans Bros, one of the Clettwr’s longest serving sponsors again saw the favourite being over-turned, Dai Brace’s Ballyprince was sent off the even money fav, but Josh Harries made sure of a winning racecourse debut for Dannys Last, owned and trained by Robert Williams father of professional jockey Christian. Maybe race goers should of taken the hint that it was going to be a ladies day, as it was the second mare to win by the third race, and there were a further two to follow during the afternoon.

A decent crowd at sunny but cold Erw Lon

Owner Dai Brace and rider Nick Williams had to settle for the runner-up spot again in the Men’s open where their Loch Quest valiantly tried to keep tabs with the odds on winner, Ballycassidy. Winning connections, the Bowen team from Letterson, stated that a visit back to Erw Lon for the Carmarthen Meeting on the 21st of March is on the cards for the winner, before looking for a hunter chase.

Happy connections after Ballycassidy wins the Men's Open Race

Fastest time of the day so often goes to the winner of the Ladies Open and Saturday was to be no exception, Chestnut Annie ridden by Isobel Thompsett led from flag fall and galloped her rivals into the ground, Howdydoody and Christine Toy did their best to keep the mare in their sight during the first circuit but could not sustain the pace leaving ‘Annie’ to come home by a distance. Owner/Trainer Beth Roberts said ‘today was the plan & we shall probably give her a few more point to point runs before looking at any Hunter Chases’

The prolific Chestnut Annie and Isabel Tompsett win the Ladies Open Race

Radnor & West Herefordshire qualified mare Banbury Babe made a three and a half hour journey to Erw Lon in search of a left handed course a winning one in the restricted race A winner of a Mares Maiden two seasons ago at the left handed Garnons track, saw connections make the long trip after several unsuccessful attempts going right-handed. The cost of the diesel was recouped by the generous odds of 16-1, much to the delight of owner Chris Gittens. Without doubt the most competitive race of the day with four in with a shout jumping two out, but Ben Poste drove the winner home by a couple of lengths from Pembrokeshire Dai Rees’ Kisha King, Even money favourite Its Danny Boy was back in 4th, but this race will defiantly throw up plenty of future winners.

Another horse needing to race left handed was successful in the last, the Confined Hunts race, Overlut a past Evan Williams inmate was heavily backed down to 4-5 on Fav and duly obliged under Rhys Hughes, making up earlier losses for the Robert Scrine team. Trainer Robert Scrine has 12 horses in his care but rates this one as one of his best, Owner Mr S Whistance is new to point to pointing, this being his first horse, but he may find himself at the professional courses pretty soon, as the plan is to look for left handed Hunter Chases.

Overlut and Rhys Hughes win the Confined Hunts Race.

A smiling Rhys Hughes after his win on Overlut in the Confined Hunts Race

Race one: Hunt Members
1st Seaforde - Lucy Pearse-Rowsell
2nd Corkan - Jessica Jones
2 ran
Won by a Distance
Time: 7m.27

Race two; Open Maiden Div 1
1st Divine Delorme- Dai Jones
2nd Duggans Forge- Jodie Hughes
3rd Burren Chieftain-Guillame Martin
10 ran
Winning Distances: 3L, Dist
Time 6m.28

Race three ;Open Maiden Div 2
1st Dannys Last- Josh Harries
2nd Ballyprince-Nick Williams
3rd Grandpops Joy- Dai Jones
9 ran
Winning Distances: 4L, Dist
Time 6m.41

Race four; Mens Open
1st Ballycassidy- Donel Devereaux
2nd Loch Quest- Nick Williams
3rd Rosetown- Nathan Deakin
4 ran
Winning Distance: 4L, Dist
Time: 6m.34

Race five; Ladies Open
1st Chestnut Annie- Isobel Thompsett
2nd Howdydoody- Christine Toy
3rd Billy Lane- Emily Farr
6 ran
Winning Distance; Dist, 4L
Time 6m.23
Race Six; Restricted
1st Banbury Babe- Ben Poste
2nd Kisha King- John Mathias
3rd Bill Jones- A Smith-Maxwell
10 ran
Winning Distance; 2L, 4L
Time 6m .27

Race 7 Confined Hunts
1st Overlut- Rhys Hughes
2nd Twilight Dancer- Isobel Thompsett
6 ran, only two finished
Winning Distances; 5L,
Time 6m.25

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