by Colin Cross

Persistent rain on Friday ensured good ground at the second meeting at Ystradowen.

MISTER FALCON – Rhys Hughes followed up their win over the course a fortnight ago by comfortably taking the Mens Open from KHATANI and PERSONA PRIDE who made most of the running until headed by the winner on the final circuit. The favourite SHAFI departed at the final Open Ditch when in contention.

CHESTNUT WOOD won twice here in 2002 and returned to winning ways in the Ladies Open, under Fiona Wilson. They won by 6 lengths and a distance from SILVER POT BLACK and HEAD GARDENER. The warm favourite HOME AGAIN, with Ann Frances having her first ride, set a strong pace until being headed and weakening four fences from home.

QUESTIONAIRE turned the Confined into a procession winning by a distance and the same from RATHGIBBON and JAKES PROGRESS. QUESTIONAIRE was ridden by Marc Barber as his regular jockey Robert Stephens broke his pelvis in a freak accident at Chepstow last Tuesday.

The Restricted race was the most exciting race of the day. LIKE THE BUZZ- Jason Cook caught odds on favourite ALJOASH – Tim Vaughan on the run in to score by 2 lengths with JUST LARK in third. LIKE THE BUZZ was being pushed along at half way to keep in touch but a couple of reminders from Jason Cook woke her up and she stayed on very well. This was only her fifth race and more improvement is likely.

Joe Price, doyen of Welsh jockeys, finished fourth on IT’S A HANDFUL but forgot to weigh in and was disqualified, he was fined forty pounds.

The Hunt race resulted in a 1-2 for Robert Rowsell when COOLEEN STRONG – Lee Stephens ran on too strongly for FOGGY HILL and ORPHAN SPA.

Messrs. Rowsell and Stephens completed a double in the 5,6,7 year Maiden when ex Irish CHANCY GUY comfortably beat debutante COAL QUEEN – Tim Vaughan. Odd on favourite CRYSTAL SOLDIER crashed out before halfway when attempting to make all odds running. Only three ran.

The final race, for Maidens 8 years and over was won by JOHNSTON’S VILLE and Jason Merry from START IT UP and Joe Price. Thirteen started but only two reached the Judge. Trainer Maggie Stephens was jubilant after the race as JOHNSTON’S VILLE was her first winner.