by Ian Protheroe

This year's Pentyrch Hunt meeting was held at Redlands Farm, Bonvilston in a rather chilly easterly wind. The temperature was approximately 15 degrees centigrade colder than during the previous afternoon! Unfortunately, the predicted rain had not arrived, and despite 255 entries, the number of runners was disappointingly low. However, the course had been well-watered - some said too well-watered - and the going was generally classed as good to firm. This springs dry weather meant that the course did not have such a thick covering of grass as usual.

The opening a members' race had 4 runners, and was won by the odds-on favourite DETROIT DAVY, ridden by local favourite Evan Williams. DETROIT DAVY was left clear when GYPSY HAZE fell at the final open ditch, and won virtually unopposed.

The confined race attracted 10 entries. The favourite for this event was COURT LENEY, again ridden by Evan Williams. However COURT LENEY fell at the first fence, leaving 4 horses to set the pace. As the horses went out on to the final circuit, SPIRIT PRINCE - a winner at Ystradowen last week - set the pace under his rider Andrew Hanly, with the New Zealand bred AKINA, ridden by Christian Williams in close pursuit. Unfortunately, SPIRIT PRINCE went the wrong side of a marker on the final circuit when looking to mount a serious challenge. This left AKINA well clear and finished virtually alone. I am not sure exactly what happened to spirit Prince as the incident took place out of sight of the main enclosures.

The third race on the card was a point-to-point owners and Riders Association club race for maiden mares. This initially attracted a field of 10, although Krystal Brock, trained by Evan Williams, was withdrawn as she became very agitated in the paddock. The favourite for this event was she's my baby, ridden by Tim Vaughan. She's my baby set the pace through out the race, and eventually won quite come fully from so. and little Daphne. The five-year-old Little Daphne showed much promise on her first race in public.

The intermediate race only attracted five runners, the favourite being a real will to, brought down from Warwickshire by the way the Cohen family. This French bread horse has shown good form in its two previous wins this year, and looked very impressive in the paddock. Although challenged for much of the race by a pre-season girl, ridden by Christian Williams, a religious eventually won quite comfortably from Cracker ticket run by Tim Vaughan. I feel sure that every lot has many wins at a higher level to come.

The feature race of the day was of the Welsh 0.2. In Grand National, over four miles. The joint favourites for this race were down, who had won the race under Sam Waley-Cohen last year, and General Custer, ridden by Evan Williams who was second in the same race last year. General Custer put down under much more pressure this year, but unfortunately slipped up on the Flat after the final open ditch. My own perception of the event was that don't was still likely to prevail. Eventually, down one of by a distance from Treasure Again in seconds and Blockbuster in third.

The most competitive race of the day was Division One of the Restricted. The bookmakers seemed to have some difficulty in forming a market for this race, but eventually Camden calomel, ridden by Mark Barber, was made an uneasy favourite. However, the race was eventually won by a it saw it in the air, ridden, owned, and trained by Amanda meetings. Alpine fugue was a fast-finishing second, having appeared to have been caught out for pace approaching the second-last fence. This is another horse which should soon be in the winner's enclosure.

The second division of the Restricted was comfortably won by Dante's promise, a horse qualified to ride with the Beaufort. Although spending most of the race in second place, the odds-on favourite won quite comfortably in the end from southern Belize, ridden by Amanda meetings. Southern Belize must really like the Bonvilston course, as are the only time it has completed in its last seven starts, it won a maiden here at last year, and finished second in this race. In all other races the horse has been poured up. The form she showed here suggests that she should be capable of winning a Restricted, perhaps at one of the two further meetings to be held on this course this year.

The first division of the young horse maiden was very disappointing, as only four horses went to post. One of these and shipped its rider at the 4th fence, and of the second and third horses were poured out with a complete circuit to go. This left Beecham a Observer, ridden by Nick Williams as Evan Williams had stood down following his earlier fall, to finish alone. Christian Williams's and Mr P Callaghan were asked by the stewards to explain why a they both pulled up with a circuit to go, but the stewards accepted their explanations. It should be pointed out that Beecham Observer jumped quite sharply to the left at every fence, which could have created quite a problem at this a right-handed circuit if they had been more runners in the race.

The final race on the card, Division Two of the young horse Maiden, produced six runners, but by this time very few spectators. This produced a win for deep Dale, ridden by Tim Vaughan, the most experienced of these younger horses April Sands, ridden by Scarlett Major, was the only other finisher a distance behind. Despite the second division of the maiden being a more competitive affair, the time for the race was three seconds slower than that of the First Division.