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Easter Saturday 4th April 2015
by Brian Lee

Merthyr Mawr's Jonathan Tudor was able to boast that he rode several hat-tricks as a rider. And now, after last Saturday's Monmouthshire Hunt Point-To-Point Steeplechases at Llanvapley, he can boast that he has had a hat-trick as a trainer.

The first leg of Jonathan's treble was initiated when Repeat Business, the odds-on favourite, landed the men's open race by ten lengths from Knockgraffon King. Owner Jeff Bird was holidaying in Cyprus so Jonathan gave him a running commentary of the final circuit on his mobile phone. Good job he didn't give him a full commentary as winning rider James Tudor, Jonathan's cousin said, "He missed every fence apart from the last two and those he flew."

Hector Worsley rode Jonathan's next winner Always A Chance which proved too speedy for Driftwood Haze in the restricted race. However, Tudor was back in the saddle on Banned In Bhutan for the second division of the split open maiden race. An early faller in its previous race, this syndicate horse bought from National Hunt jockey Paul Moloney, won by six lengths from the pacemaking Earth Tremor who was finishing in the runner-up's spot for the fourth time on the trot.

The biggest cheers of the day were for Beth Roberts's 14-year-old Chesnut Annie who, partnered by Carmarthen's Emma Moseley, won the ladies' open race. Chesnut Annie, a 7-1 chance, who tried to break away from the field was overtaken by the odds-on favourite Lauberhorn and Fine Resolve in the closing stages. But by the time the last fence was reached, she had got back in the race and was about half-a-length behind the fast finishing odds-on favourite Lauberhorn who came down leaving Chesnut Annie to score by a length from Fine Resolve. Chesnut Annie, who was winning over the course for the sixth time, has now won 37 point-to-points and two hunter chases.

Fine Resolve's rider Rachel Leyshon took the first division of the maiden on Simon Jones's Stainless Steel. Simon, who hails from Maesteg, runs a pet cemetery in the area.

Matthew Barber, riding his father Gary's Kimora, the 5-1 outsider of four, took the opening intermediate race. A nine-year-old bay mare by Bach, Kimora is trained by Matthew's older brother Marc who said, "She is only 15 h.h. and a typical woman - not easy to train."

Ben Hicks, aged 20, will always remember his first ride in Wales as he chalked-up his first winner in just four rides when landing the young horse open maiden race on Triple Brandy which got home by half-a-length from the pacemaking Sahara Haze. Ben rides out for Warren Greatrex at Lambourn and on this showing more wins will certainly be coming his way.

Leaving lovely Llanvapley, I wasn't wondering whether Chesnut Annie will go on to record her 40th victory before the season comes to an end. No, I was wondering who could it have been who had left a plate of sandwiches in one of the two portable toilets situated near the sponsors' tent!

* Jonathan Tudor, who recently celebrated his 50th birthday, rode his first winner on his 18th birthday on his own horse Bright Hope at the South Pembrokeshire meeting in 1983. Jonathan, who played hooker for Cowbridge Seconds rugby team, chalked up more than 70 winners between-the-flags, the last of them being Ollardale at the Golden Valley in 1999. The highlight of his race riding career was winning the Times Hunter Chase at Towcester on his St Helen's Boy in 1998. Another highlight was when he set a personal seasonal's best of ten wins which won him the Bill Jones Memorial Trophy for the leading rider in South Wales. He was still on crutches the result of a race riding accident when he received the trophy from former Welsh point-to-point rider and dual winning Grand National rider Carl Llewellyn.

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