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Banwen Miners at Llwyn Ddu
Monday 7th May 2018
by Brian Lee

A huge May Day holiday crowd, no doubt attracted by the beautiful sunny weather, descended on Llwyn Ddu, Glais for the annual Banwen Point-To-Point Club Steeplechases.

Racing got under way with the Non Rules Runners Maiden Conditions Race and eight of the eleven entries faced the starter.First past the post was Miss Emma Moseley's six-year-old chesnut gelding Design Plan which came home four lengths ahead of Byron Moorcroft's mount Sweet Lady Jane. But the race was not without incident as the favourite Get An Oscar (Jodie Hughes) jumped a wing and ran out on the first circuit and the second favourite Tally Ho Doctor (Nick Williams) appeared to have every chance when falling three fences from home. Emma, 28, from St Clears, was chalking up her seventh winner the first had been at the Banwen some five years earlier.

There was a close finish to the three horse Confined Race with Aerlite Supreme, who had made most of the running under Llancarfan's Isabel Williams, holding on by a neck from the fast finishing Hospital (Elen Nicholas) with Carry On Nando (Sion Whittle) a further half-a-length away in third spot. Aelite Supreme had been beaten a short head by Hospital in the Confined at the Gelligaer Farmers a week earlier so was gaining his revenge. Isabel, aged 20, from Llancarfan who is making a bold bid for the Welsh Ladies' Championship, said of her mount, "He's a lovely horse and jumps brilliantly."

There were only three in the Mens Open too and Michael Bassett's and Kieran Price's Benemeade, under Cowbridge's Byron Moorcroft, ran out a ten lengths winner from the odds-on Kinari (Peter Bryan) who had tried to make all the running. Zuccotti (Bradley Gibbs) was a further 15 lengths away. Asked how the race went Byron said, "I didn't go quick enough." Benemeade, a ten-year-old by Beneficial, like the first two winners was awarded the best turned out award.

Hold Court, a winner of his last three races, was made an odds-on favourite for the five horse Ladies' Open but Patricktom Boru, owned and trained by Bridgend builder Roger Willcox and ridden by Jodie Hughes from Pembrokeshire, found the firmish ground to his liking and given a
confident ride by the reigning Welsh champion rider came home two lengths clear of the favourite with Highly Likely (Charlotte Evans) a further eight lengths back in third spot.

Edward Lean's Essteepe, who had finished fifth in the recent Dunraven Bowl at Chepstow, lead three fences from home in the Restricted and held off the challenge of the odds-on Kilcrea Bridge (Nick Williams) to win by a length. Essteepe's rider Saskia Jones, aged 17, from Pyle near Bridgend, was chalking-up her first winner in just five rides.

Ogmore-by Sea's Nick Williams went one better in the next race the Intermediate when riding the eight-year-old bay gelding Champione he finished an official eight lengths clear of League Of His Own (Byron Moorcroft). Champione had run at the Cheltenham evening meeting on the previous Friday but was pulled-up. Owned by the Egerton, Chandler & Harris Partnership and trained by Jonathan Tudor at Merthyr Mawr, Champione won his only point-to-point earlier in the season.

Byron Moorcroft made it a double when taking the Open Maiden on the impressive seven-year-old bay mare Gowell who lived up to her name when finishing six lengths ahead of Buck Bravo (Wayne Maskill). It was a first training success for Byron and the way this one won more could be on the way.

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