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Wednesday 14th April 2010
by Brian Lee

A good crowd at the re-arranged Monmouthshire at sunny Llanvapley- where the going was described officially as firm- saw just 26 horses face the starter.

In the three-horse members' race, Jerry McGrath,19, who rides out for Brendan Powell, made all to win by one-and-a-half lengths from the odds-on The Chisholm. Royal Tender, a six-year-old grey mare,is owned and trained by Monmouthshire's Dai Williams.

The odds-on favourite Sam's Lad, which used to be trained by Abbi Vaughan, took the intermediate under John Norman after the challenging Countrycousin unseated James Price at the last. The winner, which didn't look like being caught, is owned by Maria Swain whose partner Anthony Fettah, well known on the trotting circuit, was given the nine-year-old as a gift horse for his daughter to ride.Now trained by Pontypridd's Robert Rowsell, Sams Lad could pick up another race or two while the going remains on the firm side.

Classic Chance, a ten-year-old bay gelding, owned by The Bryant & Mills Partnership, gave Rhys Hughes the first leg of a double when making nearly all to land the men's open race by ten lengths from Kilcannon Supreme. Classic Chance is trained by Margaret Ree at Cowbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan and will probably run in the Dunraven Bowl at Chepstow on Friday.

The ladies' open resulted in another win for Beth Roberts's Chesnut Annie but this time 'Annie' had to pull out all the stops.Taken on from flag fall by Mr Cee and Hannah Lewis, 'Annie' was not allowed to dominate as usual and Mr Cee actually led her famous rival two fences from the finish. There was not a lot between them at the last either but 'Annie' putting in the better jump sped up the short run-in to win by an official four lengths.

Of the 26 horses entered in the restricted, just Scania Classic and Diddle'Em went to post.The former, owned and trained by Hay-on-Wye's Katy Jane Price, and ridden by Rhys Hughes, led by a length or so throughout eventually finishing twenty lengths ahead of his solitary rival who appeared to have broken a blood vessel.The winner's time of seven minutes and fifty-five seconds must rank as one of the slowest ever over the track.

Seven horses were declared for the open maiden but the favourite Little Thorp was found to be lame at the start and was withdrawn. Kevin O'Keefe,aged 28, riding Elizabeth Kulbicki's Lets Cast Again, chalked-up his first winner when bringing the eight-year-old chesnut gelding with a good run two fences from home to score by twelve lengths from EightFor Luck.

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