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Curre & Llangib Howick
Sunday 13th March 2011
by Brian Lee

A bumper crowd attended the Curre & Llangibby meeting at sunny Howick where sixteen-year-old Willie Twiston-Davies, having his first point-to-point ride in Wales, won the men's open on David Langton's 12-year-old Naunton Brook.

A winner of his previous three starts, Naunton Brook, who tends to switch himself off during races, won easily after going clear at the penultime fence to win by three lengths from the one year older Burntoakboy ridden by David Griffiths.

Willie's mother Cathy Twiston-Davies who trains the horse said: "Willie, who is half Welsh- his father Nigel having been born in Crickhowell- won a pony race here a couple of years ago and we liked it so much that we decided to come here again.'' Willie rides the well fancied Baby Run in the Foxhunters at Cheltenham on Friday.

Wales's most popular point-to-pointer, Beth Roberts' prolific Chesnut Annie, resumed her winning ways when leading from almost start to finish in the ladies' open race.

Confidently ridden by usual partnerer Isabel Tompsett- who 24 hours earlier had ridden a winner at nearby Chepstow racecourse for Bargoed's Bernard Llewellyn-Chesnut Annie jumped well throughout to score by ten lengths from Blue Business and Angela Rucker who had tried to keep up with the pace in the early stages of the race. Annie's total of wins now reads 23 between the flags and two hunter chases.

Tom Weston won the club members conditions race on the French-bred 12-year-old Saint Reverien whose owner Clive Hitchings said:" He's been a good servant we have tried to retire him but he won't have it and has won 13 times for us now.'' He added:"We tried him in ear-plugs today and it did the trick''.

Hereford's Richard Morse won't forget his visit to Howick as he chalked-up his first winner in 15 rides when taking the restricted on River Beauty, a seven-year-old mare by Exit To Nowhere. River Beauty won by three lengths from Tachbury who had tried to make all under Jodie Hughes. Trained by Richard's wife Vici, the mare cost her just £450 at the Ascot Summer Sales. Vici, daughter of Hereford National Hunt trainer Richard Price, said, "She's straightforward to train but she has terrible legs so the soft going today really suited her.''

Ex-jockey Tom Faulker admitted to having a nice touch on his Doc Wells which was backed from 4-1 to 6-4 favourite in division one of the maiden. Partnered by Nick Williams, Doc Wells an eight-year-old bay gelding by Dr Massini, won by four lengths from Ringadingadoo.

Jodie Hughes riding Luke Price's five-year-old Fordinkum was successful in the second division. Despite making a mistake at the final obstacle, Fordinkum, purchased privately in Ireland last summer, according to his owner trainer is :"Very lazy and doesn't show a thing at home.'' Even so, he ran on gamely to beat Old Jere by six lengths after the favourite Nosler had been pulled up.

Biggest cheers of the day were for Gwynne Phillips whose homebred Books Review, given a super ride by Welsh champion John Mathias, got the better of Wilkinson who, ridden by Tom David, had jumped the last in front in division three.

In the members' race, Blazing Signet, ridden by Kevin O'Keefe, finished one and a quarter lengths ahead of Galtee View ridden by Joseph Williams. However, on weighing-in O'Keefe was 5lb too light and was disqualified.

The stitching on the horse's weight cloth had apparently became loose and the horse's hapless rider lost the said 5lb of lead during the closing stages of the race. Blazing Signet's owner Mr John Williams was fined £130 by the stewards.Some of the bookmakers were not too happy either as they paid out over Blazing Signet before the weigh-in.

One exception was Cardiff's James Lovell son of the late legendary bookmaker John Lovell.
He said: "Everyone who backed Blazing Signet with me and who I paid out returned the money after the disqualification was announced.'' He added: "That wouldn't have happened on a racecourse and it just goes to show how honest point-to-point folk are.''

Starting Prices
Members: Galtee View (Joeseph Williams) 4-1
Club Members: Saint Reverien (Tom Weston) 5-1
Men's Open: Naunton Brook (William Tweston-Davies) 1-3 fav
Ladies' Open: Chesnut Annie (Isabel Tompsett) 1-3 fav
Restricted: River Beauty (Richard Morse) 6-1
Maiden Div 1: Doc Wells (Nick Williams) 6-4 fav
Maiden: Div 2: Fordinkum (Jodie Hughes) 5-1
Maiden Div 3: Books Review (John Mathais) 5-1

* Well done to Lucy Jones on saddling her first winner under Rules with Derawar at the recent Ffos Las meeting. Lucy rode the horse herself and Welsh enthusiasts also had plenty to cheer in the novice hunters' chase which was won by Charlotte Evans aboard Keith Goldsworthy's Oca De Thaix.

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