The Racing Horse visited the Vauxhall Showground in Monmouth on Saturday to watch a fascinating 14-race card. It is believed that racing has taken place in Monmouth as early as 1734 though it is not clear when the racing moved to Vauxhall Fields but they were in use up until the races ended 1933. This ended almost 200 years of racing history in Monmouth. The racecourse layout is clearly marked on Ordnance Survey maps of Monmouth from 1900 to 1930 which also show the position of the Grandstand.
Track configuration is a concern going forwards
We are not sure how the configuration of the track evolved and whether it is possible to change things slightly for the future? We can report that the tight, always turning track suited those up front and there was certainly no last place to first finishers. The winning racing bandwidth only suited the leader to one out one back and those drivers who found themselves further back than that were clearly using the experience to educate, school and exercise as they could not win. In effect the configuration meant the draw had a significant and inflated effect on the results, and probably too much so. Conversely, the changed dynamics meant other horses had more chance given a favourable draw.
The pacers raced just over 9f whilst the trotters raced 1m4f in good weather and ground conditions that improved further throughout the day. Although the distances were longer than normal it did not assist closers or horses that raced off the pace.
Marc Jones was the driver of the day but what about Rockin Mambo?
Four of the races were confined to 2yo and 3yos and two 4yos beat their elders making it a real juvenile day out. This unique and Chester type course certainly suited Marc Thomas Jones and he claimed ‘driver of the meeting’ status winning races 9, 10 and 12. His winners included The Apprentice, Jessies Conquest and the 3yo colt Rockin Mambo who looked very impressive if not spectacular! For those races Marc netted a cool £2,250 for the winning owners.
Rockin Mambo to take on Miraculous in the future - Marc Jones
Interesting to note that the second leg of the treble was courtesy of last year's Champion 2yo filly Jessies Conquest who made all to beat last season's Champion 2yo colt Miraculous by a nose in the R Richards & Sons 3yo Colt & Fillies Pace. Clearly Patrick Kane's drive did not enjoy the track but when asked about a rematch Marc Jones told us: “Rockin Mambo is the one who will take on Miraculous in the future” This is great racing news and we sense drama to come!
Tenor Meslois makes it three in a row for the Evans team
There were other good drives and one could not help but be impressed by the cool Rhys Evans who knew he had a ton in hand in the Monmouth Inaugural Le Trot when piloting Tenor Meslois. This was his third big pot since 16th May at Tregaron. The consensus is there is more to come and Huw Evans confirmed that the 9yo will run at Tir Prince next week....
Aussie Luke Humphreys calls his first live commentaries at Monmouth!
The meeting was well served with two commentators on the scaffold. Darren Owen was his usual professional self but it was also great to hear race-calling Aussie style. Youngster Luke Humphreys from Victoria called some of the races and he added to proceedings. Darren Owen told us: “Luke is on vacation with his father Paul, on a trip that has taken them to the Ellitloppet, Vincennes, Chantilly, Monmouth and next week to Royal Ascot. Luke's ambition is to be a race caller and the Monmouth meeting will be a day, I'm sure, he'll never forget as at this meeting the races he called were his first calls on competitive races live over a track's PA system.” Listening to his relaxed style we would have not known that this was his first call – good luck Luke!
Drama came in the Global Winery Novice Pace
Drama came in the Global Winery Novice Pace where Rhyds Merlin’s sulky wheel had a puncture on the first lap after being struck by a horse behind. There was a bang then the horse ran two laps with a puncture before the tyre came off (see picture). Rhyds Merlin beat Gift Of Life with Intensity third and the last named now looks ready to win..
Jess Dyer claims her third and biggest win so far!
Finally, well done to Afan Mona Liza and rookie Cardiff based driver Jess Dyer. They won the NAF 3yo Fillies Conditioned Stakes Pace and her joy was there for everyone to see.
We believe this was just her third win but certainly her biggest as she won £1,200 for her grandfather who owns the 3yo filly. Our guess is that she will keep the drive next time out.
The Lakeview Romeo situation caused some angst - lessons to be learnt?
The Racing Horse was a little dissatisfied when Lakeview Romeo was removed from the betting market and then reinstated whilst the betting ring and margins were still live. The stewards must have a fixed rule for this type of thing - the horses are either a runner or a non-runner. Harness racing punters already shoulder a huge bookmaker overround and generally accept the fact but adding penalties is not fair. Our view is that once Lakeview Romeo was deemed a non-starter, and irrespective of post representations, he should not have been allowed reinstatement. As it was he broke his gait during the race and was only nuisance value but we must always be mindful when integrity meets betting. On this occasion we do not believe any damage was done but we must NOT arm our detractors...
|Once again MASSIVE THANKS to those who supported harness racing at Monmouth and in particular to the sponsors Boughrood Racing, Presteigne Gates, Talvary Stud, Global Winery, RS Events Hire, Le Trot/Trot Britain, NAF, Wellfield Stud, Shires, R Richards & Sons, Rhyds Stud, Breedon Aggregates and Porterstown Stud. The Racing Horse personally thanks Sue Young, Debbie Wakefield and Jackie Maguire for their efforts and making us welcome. Also big thanks to Jeff and Margaret Langford and all the helpers that facilitated racing yesterday.