26 April 2011 Report: Pentyrch - Bonvilston
by Brian Lee
Racegoers turned up in their thousands at sunny Bonvilston in the Vale of Glamorgan for the annual Pentyrch Hunt Point-To-Point meeting last Saturday. Farmer Tudor Harris and his band of happy helpers had watered the course on a daily basis the week before; around 100,000 gallons of water in total had been laid down, which ensured some decent sized fields.
The feature race was the Dunraven Windows Point-To-Point Grand National over 3m4f, first run in 1983 when it was won by Cowbridge farmer John Llewellyn on Donald Dix's Mr Moneybags. The odds-on favourite was Paul Miles's Findlay's Find, who was given a confident ride by Ogmore's Nick Williams. The remarkable five-year-old went clear three fences from home to become the youngest winner since My Moneybags in the inaugural event, winning by a distance from Wyn Morris's Backstreet Lad (Nathan Deakin), with last year's winner Galtee View (Joseph Williams) a further 20 lengths away in third place.
Findlay's Find, recording his fourth successive win this season, is trained by Miles' wife Myfanwy. Williams, who recently reached the 150 wins milestone, soon made it a double when victorious in the next race, the Restricted, on Gwynne Phillips's homebred Books Review. The seven-year-old, trained by Shan ‘Mandryka' Farr in the Rhondda and a former inmate of Debbie Hamer's yard, won by ten lengths from the pacemaking Diddle'Em (Paul Tolman).
Only three of the twelve entries went to post for the AGA Ladies Open, but all were prolific winners. Oca De Thaix (Charlotte Evans), Chesnut Annie (Isabel Tompsett) and Lady Myfanwy (Claire Hart) finished in that order after Oca De Thaix, a nine-year-old gelding and the 5-1 outsider of three, had made every yard of the running to win by six and five lengths respectively. Charlotte, 18, rides out for Pembrokeshire trainer Keith Goldsworthy. As a spectacle, the race was a big disappointment as the three runners finished in the same positions they held throughout, although Evans enthused of the race "that was fantastic."
Laura Grey, 21, having only her second ride in a Point-to-Point, won the Members race on the grand old National Hunt performer Celtic Boy, who got up on the run-in to win by three quarters of a length from the odds-on Chandlers Cross (Bradley Gibbs). Celtic Boy's former owner, Ffos Las Racecourse supremo Dai Walters, was there to see his triumphant run. Laura, who rides out for Tim Vaughan, will be going to Bristol University to train as a veterinary surgeon. Celtic Boy was a first winner for trainer Rebecca Dando, who also saddled her father Philip's homebred Spring Haze (Evan David) to win the Maiden race. Spring Haze was left in front when Gouranga Society (Paul Sheard) fell four fences from home.
Jack Rowsell's Stoneriggs Merc, winner of an amateur riders' race at Ludlow when trained by Tim Vaughan, was the 16-1 winner of the Novice Riders race. Well ridden by Joseph Williams, the ten year old disputed the lead throughout before holding off a late challenge by the odds-on Kisha King (Wayne Maskill) to score by a length and a half.
Dewi Lewis's Balearic Star (Paul Tolman), winner of the Confined here last year only to be disqualified, made up for it this time around. Despite a bad mistake at the second last: "It was my fault'' said Tolman, the pair went on to score by four lengths from Power King (James Stephens) in this year's renewal.