Under the heading ’Brace Launches Season With Treble’ this is what I had to say back then: ’Bridgend businessman David Brace, who trains racehorses in his spare time, had a fine start to the Welsh season when saddling three winners and another that was disqualified at the Vale of Clettwr Hunt Steeplechases.
His five-year-old mare Mrs Wumpkins started the winning streak when winning division two of the maiden race under Pip Jones.’
In division four,his six-year-old Gunner Boon,ridden by Evan Williams, of Llancarfan, finished ahead of Celtic Daughter, ridden by Jamie Jukes, only to be disqualified after a lengthy enquiry for going the wrong side of a flag.’
’However, half-an-hour or so later, Brace was back in the winner’s enclosure after his Goolds Gold, an ex-Irish 10-year-old, partnered by Jamie Jukes,scored a surprise win in the men’s open race when trouncing the odds-on favourite Wolf Winter.
Pip Jones was back in the saddle for Brace’s third winner African Bride which took the first division of the restricted in fine style.
African Bride was the third leg of a treble for Jones who had earlier won the ladies’ open race on Handsome Harvey who came home an impressive ten lengths winner.’
’Jukes also notched up a treble as apart from Celtic Daughter and Goolds Gold he also won another division of the maiden on Stormy Witness who was his 50th winner of the season.
Grant Lewis, who told me he had to lose around two stone before the start of the season to ride in point-to-points, said it was all worth while after riding his first ever double with Judgeroger (members) and Cranagh Moss in a division of the maiden.
Both his winners made all the running throughout and could soon be winning again.’
Another divsion of the maiden went to Jon Tudor’s Just Marmalade who proved too speedy for Final Cruise. Vivian Hughes rode an excellent finish on Miss Millbrook, who overtook Metro Style on the run-in to win the confined race and Mister Horatio made all under Mark Lewis to win the second division.’
‘JOHN MAKES HISTORY’
’Point to-point history was made at the Gelligaer Farmers Hunt Steeplchases on Saturday when Cardiff bookmaker John Lovell introduced his potable computer to the hunt-racing scene.’
’Punters are given a little print-out which not only tells them the name of the horse they backed but also how much they collect should their bet be a winner.’
’Lovell, who is the only bookmaker at present using the device on racecourses throughout the country said: “It prevents any disputes and will be widely used in time by when other bookmakers catch on.”
He added:?“This is the first time it has ever been used at a point-to-point.”
Wales leading lady rider Pip Jones brought her season’s tally of wins to ten with a double on African Bride (club race) and Lucky Ole Son (intemediate).’
’African Bride, who was winning for the fourth time this season, won easily by 15 lengths from My Boy Barney and Lucky Ole Son went clear five out to score by a distance from Construction King.’
’Brother Prim, backed from 20-1 to 4-1, came down when leading at the ninth. Both winners are owned and trained by Bridgend businessman David Brace and Lucky Ole Son was his ninth winner of the season.
Wales’ first mixed open race was won by Lighten The Load who, under 20-year-old Adrian Wintle, won by 30 lengths from Touch ’N’Pass with the even money favourite Sandy Beau a disappointing third.’
’Lighten The Load is owned by Phil Payne who lives not far from the course and who celebrated his 60th birthday the day before.’
’Mr Payne’s fence building company provided all the portable fences used on the course. Mother of two Joanne Hawkins took the confined on Cyril Morgan’s La Mezary who went clear three fences from home to win by 15 lengths from Mo’s Chorister.
Greengrocer Steve Blackwell rode his third winner of the season when making all in the first division of the maiden on Icecapade and Llancarfan’s Evan Williams rode his first winner of the season when taking the second division on Andrew Hazell’s 11-year-old The Fun Of it.’
‘However, Mr Hazell wasn’t there to lead in his first winner as he was watching Wales beating Scotland at the National Stadium! Apparently, The Fun Of It, who is trained by former jockey June Lewis, ran in a record 31 bumper races in Ireland.’
’Happiest man on the course was Gwilym Isaac who saw his homebred Bay Leader land a pillar to piost win in the members’ race. Bay Leader was confidently ridden by 18-year-old Emma Tamplin and Mr Isaac, who has horses with Jenny Pitman,was landing his first winner in 30 years!’
‘TUDOR TRIUMPHS WITH TREBLE TOP IN BEST-EVER SEASON’
‘Jonathan Tudor landed his first treble in six years when winning on Cairneymount, Touch’N’ Pass and Harry From Barry at the Tredegar Farmers Point-To-Point Steeplechases, which saw the close of the 1996 season.’
‘Cairneymount won by a distance from Pharrago after his nearest pursuer Prince Nepal had slipped up on the approach to the third last fence. Touch ’N’ Pass, who like Cairneymount is trained by Rober Williams at Ogmore, scored by 15 lengths from Jamie Juke’s mount Oragas.
Harry From Barry, who got home by a length from Boddington Hill, was being strongly challenged by Good Boy Charlie, ridden by Jukes, when he fell at the last.
Harry From Barry, a reject from Philip Hobbs’ yard, is owned by Gwyn Davies and trained by Jonathan’s father Billy Tudor. Jonathan, a 31-year-old from Pencoed, is enjoying his best ever season having ridden 13 winners.’
‘Emma Crawford, aged 24,from Magor, notched-up her third winner in eight rides when winning the ladies’ open race on her 12-year-old Mendip Music.’
’Mendip Music, who took over the lead approaching the 10th of the 16 fences, had five lengths to spare over Never Be Great and won in a time which was five seconds faster than when winning over the same course last weekend.’
‘Tim Jones took the restricted open on Sterling Buck who finished four lengths ahead of Meadow Cottage after taking up the running approaching the third last fence.
Hereford’s Emma James recored her sixth winner of the season when taking the second division of the maiden on Bowland Girl who won by three lengths from Relatively High.’
’Backers of the long odds-on Polly Pringle had a shock when Mrs Carmen Goldsworthy’s mare nearly unshipped Andrew Price at the second fence in the members’ race.
Price somehow managed to stay in the saddle and went on to win by a street’s length from Light The Wick, who was so tired he was walked past the winning post.’
*As a follow-up to my ‘Racing Rogues - The Scams, Scandals and Gambles of Horse Racing in Wales’, I am looking for stories, press cuttings and photographs for my next book which will be ‘A Miscellany of Horse Racing in Wales’.
It will also include point-to-point and unlicensed meetings, riders and horses of note, strange or odd races, scams, gambles successful or otherwise.
Please e-mail [email protected] or phone 02920736438.