In my 50 years of reporting on the Welsh point-to-point scene, I don't think I have ever endured such atrocious conditions like those that prevailed at Uplands Farm, Ystradowen in the Vale of Glamorgan last Saturday. Heavy showers and a gale force wind that blew away bookmaker James Lovell's big betting stand umbrella had racegoers dashing to their cars and anywhere else that could give them some respite.
And the going, which could have been described as good at the start of the day, changed to heavy as the afternoon went on.
The happiest person on the course was probably 21-year-old Bradley Gibbs who repeated his hat-trick of last year when winning the Glamorgan Hunt Club Members Conditions Race on See U Again Son, the Mixed Open Race on My Coranna and the Restricted Race on C Me In Oz.
See U Again Son, like My Coranna, is owned by Bradley's girlfriend Claire Sheriff and is qualified with the Glamorgan Hunt. The seven-year-old bay gelding led three fences from home to score by three lengths from Bob The Butcher.
The seven-year-old mare My Coranna, who like See U Again Son is trained by Bradley's father David Gibbs, made it three wins in a row when finishing eight lengths ahead of the pace-making Sheriff Hutton and Bradley's third win came when Rob and Julie McClean's ex-Irish C Me In Oz got the better of Gardiners Hill in the Restricted. C Me In Oz, which had finished runner-up in his previous two races won by two lengths and is trained by Maesteg's Simon Jones.
The first leg of a Tom David double was initiated when Keith James's eight-year-old chestnut gelding Itchymei'mscratch easily took the opening Glamorgan Hunt Members, Subscribers & Farmers Race coming home an official nine lengths ahead of the Bradley Gibbs partnered Thomas Junior. So easily that the winning connections said they planned to run him again at Lydstep on Easter Monday.
National Hunt trainer Tim Vaughan, who trains just a couple of miles away from the course at Aberthin, was there to see his Hawkhill trail in last of the four runners after being prominent throughout most of the race.
However, Tim had plenty to smile about later in the day when he heard that his Belize had carried a hefty top weight of 11st 12lbs to victory at Newton Abbot when beating the bottom weighted Tresor De La Vie, who had just 10 stone to carry, by 24 lengths.
Its A Mistake, which gave Tom his second winner in the Seven-Year-Olds And Over Open Maiden Race when finishing five lengths ahead of An Cor, had fallen in the lead at the second last fence in his previous race won by WithOutTheFavourite at the Beaufort Hunt. But this time the nine-year-old bay gelding, in a handy position throughout, made no mistake and Sirrel Griffiths, of Norton's Coin fame , was there to see his son Martyn who owns and trains the horse cheer home his winner.
Tom's younger brother Evan, aged 23, took the Four, Five And Six Year-Olds Open Maiden Race on the best turned out Live For Today a first time winner between-the flags for owner David Bond. A former reject of National Hunt trainer Dai Burchell, this five-year-old bay gelding by Alflora, was thought to be "unraceable".
However, trainer Nick Williams, who gave up race-riding at the end of last season, said: "We have been riding him on the sands at Ogmore by Sea and it has worked wonders and he now appears to have got over his difficulties."
Thanks must go to the seven bookmakers who braved the conditions thus ensuring that punters could back their fancies. And with all six races being won by well fancied horses it was probably a day they won't forget for more reasons than one.