Gibbs gets off to a flying start on the first day of the new point-to-point season

  • Llangeinor Pentyrch, Pyle, South Glamorgan

    BRADLEY GIBBS got his point-to-point season off to a flying start when clocking up a treble at the first meeting of the season as a jockey, and one as a trainer, too, despite the challenging wet and windy conditions yesterday (31 October).

    The 2m4f maiden four- and five-year-old victor, and the first of Bradley’s three winners, was Patch Me Up, who was bred and is owned and trained by David Brace, who also trained River Llynfi, the one-length runner-up in this race under James King.

    “Although there were only four runners in his race, this lad won it well. He stuck his head down, jumped well, galloped to the line and gave me a nice feel,” said Bradley of the five-year-old son of Dr Massini, who won by a length. “I won a bumper on this horse’s full brother at Ffos Las a couple of years ago and I would think that David will probably sell him after running him in another point-to-point, as is usually the plan for the ones he breeds.”

    Chimes Of Dylan was the next of Bradley’s winners and together they won the conditions (level three) convincingly by 25 lengths.

    “I’m delighted for Robbie for this horse to win. It‘s the first winner out of his new yard and he won impressively,” said Bradley of the eight-year-old son of Court Cave, who is trained by Robert Llewellyn and owned by Mr J T Phillips.

    Post No Bills was the sole finisher of the two-runner restricted. Ridden and trained by Bradley Gibbs, this six-year-old Mahler son is owned by Nathan and Carl Pyne and Roy Swinburne.

    “The lads who own Post No Bills are a brilliant group to train for and I’m delighted that this horse has won for them again,” Bradley said, referring to the fact this gelding has never been out of the top three in all four of his starts with Bradley so far. “I know there were only two runners in this race, but he’s a very nice horse and he put the other runner to bed with a circuit to go.”

    Bradley, who is originally from Wales, but set up his own yard near Hatfield, just north of London, in 2020, said it was “great to be back pointing in Wales”, given that Covid put paid to Welsh fixtures throughout last season.

    Trainer Alan Hill enjoyed a double on the day with his first winner coming in the form of the super-consistent Hawkhurst, who now aged 11, recorded his 13th career win under Izzie Marshall in the mixed open from a total of 30 point-to-point runs.

    “You either have frustration or celebration with Hawkhurst, but I think a lot of people would love to own him as he has rarely finished out of the top three,” said Alan, who owns and trains this horse.

    “Occasionally he does show the other side of his character. For example, he bucked Izzie off midway through a race a couple of years ago and he bucked Sam Twiston-Davies off on the run-in when he was about to win when Paul Nicholls trained him. All the people that have ridden him have done a good job, but Izzie I feel at the moment gets the best out of him because she gets the opportunity to ride him at home. His previous jockeys, such as Will Biddick and Gina Andrews, didn’t have that opportunity because they had no need or the time to come in and school 11-year-olds. So that time he spends with Izzie means that I think she gets just that little bit extra out of him.”

    Mixed Open winner, Hawkhurst ridden by Isabel Marshall and trained by Alan King

    Alan said Izzie’s winning ride here was “perfection”.

    “Izzie rode an ice-cool race. She was never in a hurry, got a super jump at the last and passed the two horses in front of her just before the line,” he explained. “It may look cocky, but it isn’t. It just suits that horse as he loves chasing other runners.”

    Alan’s other winner on the day was Bucaneros, whom he also owns, in the six-year-old and over maiden. Under Sean O’Connor, the eight-year-old son of Stowaway overturned the 7/4 favourite Hitdroadjack by half a length.

    “We bought Bucaneros from Olly Murphy a couple of years ago as a maiden point-to-pointer and, unfortunately due to Covid, this was the first time we have run him,” said Alan. “We were about to get him in over Christmas time last season, but then we went into lockdown again, so we decided to leave him out in the field and then bring him in early to get a full season of racing in this time around. So far that’s proving to be the right decision to have made.”

    Bucaneros, ridden by Sean O’Connor and trained by Alan Hill

    Sean O’Connor is a new addition to the Hill team, having originated in Ireland and more recently moving from his previous job at David Pipe’s to Alan and Lawney’s to progress more over fences.

    “Like all young lads, all Sean wants to do is progress. We always want to have a novice rider around, because it is the future of our sport,” said Alan. “Sometimes if these keen, young people are in big yards, they don’t always necessarily get the opportunities they probably deserve, so it was great to see another of our novice riders with a big smile on his face after this win.”

    Kelvingrove was the sole finisher of the five-runner conditions (level two) race, under his rider/owner/trainer, Evan Griffiths and for whom this was his first ever ride between the flags. It was also a first point-to-point win for this horse, after five previous runs with other jockeys. The 11-year-old by Hurricane Lane ran 37 times under Rules for Jonjo O’Neill over fences and Ed Vaughan on the Flat and clocked almost £66,000 in the process.

    Kelvingrove, ridden, owned and trained by Evan Griffiths

    We owe it to… The organisers

    EVERYONE at Llangeinor Pentyrch was full of praise towards the organisers of the meeting, which was the first Welsh point-to-point since before the Covid pandemic started, especially given that weather conditions were tricky, to say the least.

    “The Tudors and the Braces have been fantastic in putting on this point-to-point,” said Alan Hill. “Because, by God, they’ve had a long time with no point-to-points in Wales. There are so many happy people here. Even when it was blowing 50mph and raining horizontally, everyone was wandering around with a smile on their face. If everybody in the sport had that attitude, it would be great.”

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...