Welsh rugby International Cory Hill has a share in a syndicate horse that has won three point-to-point races this season (writes Brian Lee).
He saw his mare take the honours at South Pembrokeshire Hunt Point-To-Point Steeplechases, Lydstep. It was the first time Hill had watched five-year-old chestnut Highway Jewel race win when she beat solitary rival Ruperra Tom.
Irish-bred Highway Jewel is trained by Ynysbwl’s David Gibbs, who joked: “This is the third win on the bounce for Highway Jewel and this guy who plays a bit of rugby was seeing her win for the first time.”
With a number of rugby matches played at weekends I suppose Cory has a good excuse.
By winning the race, the mare has now qualified for the £7,000 Connolly’s Red Mills Point-To-Point Championship Final to be held at Cheltenham on Friday, May 3.
She is partnered by Gibbs’ son, Welsh champion rider Bradley, and is qualified with the Ystrad Taf Fechan Hunt.
Bradley said: “She jumped well and we soon put the race to bed.”
Llancarfan’s Isabel Williams notched her third winner between-the-flags this season when riding her grandmother Mary Evans’ 12-year-old former National Hunt performer Hold Court in the ladies’ open race.
She rode a well-judged race to win by 25 lengths from the Llangeinor horse Patricktom Boru ridden by Jodie Hughes and in doing so won the award for the best riding performance of the day, judged by the race commentator Edward Williams.
Isabel, who has also ridden a number of winners under Rules, said: “I was thrilled with the way he ran. Over the moon in fact.”
Cowbridge’s Byron Moorcroft, who had celebrated his 31st birthday 24 hours earlier, won the restricted on blinkered Holy Water which won by 12 lengths from the pacemaking Snow Puma.
Ben Jones, who had a hat-trick at Saturday’s Glamorgan fixture, came away with a double this time. He won the opening members’ race on the odds-on Midnight Folie, coming home a distance ahead of The Doc, and then the men’s open on the 12-year-old hooded Walkabout Creek.
Odds-on favourite Don Bersy, partnered by Welsh champion Bradley Gibbs, was slowly away at the start gave his three rivals a good start.
Llangeinor horse NorthGeorge, ridden by Jack Tudor, appeared to be going well only to slip up on the bend on the first circuit.
Walkabout Creek was a first winner for schoolteacher Dawn Smedley, who said: “He’s a real pleasure to train.”
At the age of 12, Walkabout Creek was the oldest of the four runners.
The French-bred Airpur Desbois, trained by former rugby player Gareth Moore at Pyle, near Bridgend, won the aged maiden race by one-and-a-quarter lengths from Italian Symphony.
Jockey James King, aged 23, rode Airpur Desbois and the victory delighted of owner Mrs Carmen Goldsworthy.
What is point-to-point racing, who goes and where is it?
— Point2PointAuthority (@Point2PointAuth) April 2, 2019
Members: Midnight Folie (Ben Jones) 4-7 fav
Aged Maiden: Airpur Desbois (James King) 7-2
Ladies Open: Hold Court (Isabel Williams) 2-1
Open Maiden: Tipalong Tyler (Peter Bryan) 20-1
Mens Open:Walkabout Creek (Ben Jones) 9-2
Intermediate: Highway Jewel (Bradley Gibbs) 4-9 fav
Restricted: Holy Water (Byron Moocroft) 5-4 fav
2019 Point to Point fixtures: