The Welsh Classic Race

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The Welsh Classic was first run in 1984, and was won by Mountain Hero. 

For many in Tregaron this was an emotional win as Mountain Hero, a five year old gelding, was bred by the club's first secretary Gareth Lloyd Davies. Sadly Gareth did not live to see his horse win at Tregaron but fittingly, the trophy presented to Teifion Thomas, the owner, trainer and driver of Mountain Hero, was the Gareth Lloyd Davies Memorial Trophy. This is still the trophy presented to the winner of the Welsh Classic today.

The Welsh Classic was created when a handful of enthusiasts financially underwrote the first £1,000 handicap in Britain, which 25 years later offers a total in prize money of over £20,000. The race is sponsored by Oriel and Barry Jones, Lampeter, as it has been almost entirely from its inception and its success is due to their continued support.

1985

Russian Square, driven by Stevie Lees and trained by Mick Wilcox wins for the first time. It took Stevie over 20 years to win it again.

1986

The prize money stayed in Wales with Amman Command, driven by Trevor Knott and owned by Jerry Connors from Cardiff.

1987

The prize money stayed in Wales for a second year with The Bounder, driven by Teifion Thomas (the winner in 1984) and owned by Graham Hammond from Builth Wells.

1988

Won by Black and Silver, driven by Mick Lord and owned and trained by Brian Mould.

1989

Bill Green, predominantly a trotting man from Manchester drove his own horse, Greenfold Surprise, to win in very wet conditions.

1990

One of the characters of the sport in Wales won with his own horse - Huw Thomas and Hovis.

1991

Stoneriggs JR, possibly one of the best horses to win the Classic. He was driven by Colin Bevan and owned and trained by the late Dennis Hardwick.

1992

Outlaw won the classic and is the oldest horse to have won at ten years of age, driven by Alan Haythornthwaite and owned and trained by Wesley Jones from Brecon. Roy Wilson had driven Outlaw to win his heat but he qualified two other horses for the final and was committed to drive one of the others.

1993

This was one of the closest finishes ever at a Welsh Classic with Cliff Dowse driving his father’s horse, Extra Spring, to a tremendous victory narrowly beating Rhiw Patrol.

1994

All Mac wins with driver Ian Pimlott and trainer Roy Willis.

1995

Some drivers win the race once and can quickly go on to win again. Ian Pimlott won with a horse he trained himself, Precocious Fella.

1996

Sharpen Up, who had previously finished runner up in the final, won with driver Stevie Flook. Sharpen Up came back to finish second which makes him one of the most successful horses in the Welsh Classic.

1997

The first female driver to win the Classic was Megan Taff, driving Disraeli Force in atrocious conditions. And this wouldn’t be Megan’s last win. The same team would go on to win the Classic in 1999.

1998

Roy Wilson made up for missing driving Outlaw in 1992 when he drove Simon to a win for local owner and trainer the late Joss Davies; the quietest of men, even he got excited that day.

1999

This year saw Megan Taff claim her second Classic win, this time driving Saunders Celestial, trained by her husband David and owned by Ray Munday.

2000

Lyons Sure Sign won the race with a tremendous late surge by driver James Murdoch who was training for the Mound family from Rhyl. This was their first Classic win and the mare went on to win races in Canada.

2001

No racing due to restrictions relating to the Foot and Mouth disease.

2002

The first ever 3-day festival and possibly the most impressive winner of the Classic – Stormy Reveller with owner, trainer and driver, Brenda Dean. They won off a 20 yard trail.

2003

Mick Lord, wins the first of his 21st century hat-trick driving George Arthur and sets a track record of 2.2.4. This fulfilled a dream for owner/trainer John Howard who had bought the horse specifically to win the Classic – another who went on to win races in Canada.

2004

Shady Romance was the winner this year, driven by Mick Lord who secured his third Classic win. Trained by his wife Sheilagh for John and Grethe Wright, owners of the mighty Rhyd’s stud. She completed an amazing double having already won the famous Musselburgh Pace.

2005

Mick Lord’s third triumph in a row was with Daydreamer for owner/trainer Jim Winter who was a little flying machine.

2006

Stevie Lees won with the Wallace family’s Meadowbranch Frank. It was an incredibly wet year when the inside rail of the track had to be moved out six feet on the Saturday in order to give the horses better ground to run on. But Stevie took his catch drive to the front very early on and stayed there.

2007

Another horse to do the Musselburgh/Welsh Classic double was Connors Dragon driven by owner/trainer Craig Nuttall who took a large cheque home from Tregaron, not only winning the Welsh Classic but also winning the Stayer’s Race on the Thursday of the Festival. He made a very generous gesture in leaving some of the money behind to be donated to the Tŷ Hafan children’s charity. Diolch yn fawr Craig.

2008

For the first time in 25 years the meeting had to be cancelled due to atrocious weather conditions.

2009

Earned Income, at the age of 9, won off a trail of 50 yards in the hands of Alan Richardson from Ireland.

2010

Ian Pimlott drove Impartial, trained by Rocker Laidler in both heat and final to win the final very easily. A very popular local winner, the horse was bred by Alan Brown in Lampeter and owned by a syndicate of Cardiff bookmakers. It was also Ian’s third win in the classic.

2011

This was another bad year weather wise. The first two days of the festival were completed but it became impossible to run the third which includes the Oriel Welsh Classic so for the third time in 27 years the famous race had to be cancelled.

2012

The racing was unable to take place at Dolyrychain due to the wet weather so the racing cut back to two days and relocated to Amman Valley. Tregaron born and bred Fool Around and trainer/driver Rhys Evans completed the double having won the Spring handicap in May.

2013

Anti post favourite Infinatey wins in the hands of Mick Lord. Infinatey completed the double winning the Spring Handicap Final and The Welsh Classic. The five year old gelding is owned and bred by Marc Jones, Sennybridge. Darren Owen announced that this was one of the most exciting Welsh Classic finals he had ever called 

2014

You would have been highly unlikely to have named the winner of this Welsh Classic 100 yds from the finish - with five horses across the track, battling for the line.  But Rhys Evans had not given up and from theinner rial and at back of the field, took the decision to head for the wide outside and with a burst of accelration Sauders Mach 3 got the message, sprinted to the stand side and cruised to a 2L victory.  A true Welsh Classic!

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