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Saturday 21st April 2007
by Brian Lee

Tim Lane , 31, a Chepstow stud farm manager, riding Sean Connell's Maestro Please landed the Welsh Point-To-Point 'Grand National' at the Pentyrch Hunt Steeplechases at Bonvilston last Saturday.

Maestro Please, an eight-year-old bay gelding, took up the running four fences from the finish to score by 25 lengths from the pace making Scotch Corner.

Bridgend's William Oakes stood in for Jodi Hughes who was riding in a hunter chase at Bangor and chalked-up his seventh win of the season on Eric Clough's 15-year-old Longstone Boy in the confined race.

Longstone Boy, who has had a catalogue of injuries during his long and esteemed racing career causing him to miss three seasons, was winning for the 12th time.

Bruce McKay's Cresswell Abbey, who is not much bigger than a pony, provided Isabel Tompsett with her ninth winner of the season when coming home seven lengths clear of Miss Millfield in the mares only race. Mr McKay was full of praise for National Hunt trainer Keith Goldsworthy for the advice he had given him on how to train the mare.

In division one of the maiden, Evan Williams's The Hairy Mutt, partnered by Rhys Hughes, and who was running for the first time in public, was well clear at the last when he refused to jump the obstacle leaving Tim Vaughan aboard LetsPlay to romp home ten lengths clear of Valuso the only other finisher. LetsPlay is trained by Vaughan's wife Abbi who said:" We bought him for just a £1,000 in a service station on our way home from the Doncaster Sales last February.'' LetsPlay is owned by the Western Mail's Richard Western and Richard Harris whose father Tudor farms the land the races are held over.

There was quick consolation for Evan Williams as his Scholar King, partnered by Rhys Hughes, took the second division scoring an impressive ten lengths win over Danbury. Williams, who sponsored the race he won,said: “He's a really nice sort and will go summer racing as will The Hairy Mutt.”

Leslie Jefford's Double Mead was a twelve lengths winner of the restricted under Darren Edwards,22, who was having his first ride in a Welsh point-to-point.

In the members' race, Mrs Rae Jones's game Loch Ennel, ridden by Liam Payter, won for the fourth time this season leading at the last to win by one-and-a-half lengths from SaucyNorwich.

James Tudor chalked-up his 16th winner of the season when scoring on Allborn Lad in a division of the maiden at the Vale of Aylesbury and at the Cotswold Farmers on Sunday Luke Price, who deserves more rides than he usually gets, won the men's open novice riders race on Paul Miles's Valjean and Penhow's James Stephens took the restricted novice riders' race on Harvey Heaven's Murdinga.

Hunt-racing enthusiasts will be flocking to Chepstow Racecourse on Friday evening for the £3,000 Dunraven Bowl Hunterchase which is the highlight of the season for many Welsh fans. The connections of Coal

Queen, trained by former leading point-to-point rider Nick Tamplin, will be hoping for rain this week as this eight-year-old mare goes best on an easy surface.

One-hundred-and-thirty-six entries have been received for the Llangeinor Hunt Steeplechases at Laleston, near Bridgend, on Saturday where Dai Lloyd's Bobosh can get backers off to a good start by winning the members' race. Howddoody and Minsgill Man look best in the confined and Sapega and Master Billyboy look to have the ladies race between them.

Cresswell Willow can take the restricted and Bucketawl may have most to fear from Titchfield in the men's open. The ones to watch in the maiden races are Miss Millfield, Members' Only, Onlybegoneanhour and Valruso.

The course is being watered and racing gets under way at 2.p.m.

Pentyrch winners

Members: Lough Ennel (Liam Payter) 1-3 fav

Confined: Longstone Boy (William Oakes) evens fav

Mares Only: Cresswell Abbey (Isabel Tompsett) 14-1

Welsh Grand National: Maestro Please ( Tim Lane) 4-1

Restricted: Double Mead (Darren Edwards) 6-4 fav

Maiden Division 1: LetsPlay (Tim Vaughan) 5-2

Maiden Division 2: Scholar King (Rhys Hughes) evens fav

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