Welsh duo edged out as big purse is landed by Medinas
REBECCA Curtis and Dai Walters both just missed out on keeping the William Hill Welsh Champion Hurdle on home soil on Saturday.
Both, at different times, looked like landing the £50,000 race, the biggest in the Carmarthenshire course's calendar.
But in the end the pair were edged out by Medinas.
Tanerko Emery, owned by Ffos Las chairman Walters — who won the race two years ago with Oscar Whisky — travelled supremely well and looked set to take the valuable prize as they eased into contention early in the home straight.
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But he found Peckhamecho — trained in Pembrokeshire by Curtis — and Medinas going equally well and the trio battled it out over the final couple of flights.
Peckhamecho looked all over the winner as he jumped the last two lengths clear, but Medinas fought back bravely on the run-in to capture the prize in a driving finish.
Tanerko Emery finished close up in third.
"He's travelled very well and he's jumped well," said winning jockey Wayne Hutchinson.
"When I've gone for him, he's put his head down and stuck on really well.
"He's shown good qualities.
Carruthers produced a gallant staying performance to win the West Wales National.
The 10-year-old — one of the most popular horses in training — shared the lead with Shaking Hands for the majority of the contest before seeing off his rival coming into the home straight.
Then he faced a fresh challenge in the shape of Cannington Brook, but just held on in a desperate finish despite seeing his lead diminished on the run for home.
Carruthers, who landed the prestigious Hennessy Gold Cup in 2011, was winning his second race of the season at Ffos Las, having taken a decent prize at the track over Christmas.
"He's a complete superstar to ride," said jubilant jockey Nico de Boinville. "He teaches me what to do. I was wondering if we were going to get home, but he kept pulling out more. He heard the other horse coming to him and pulled out a bit more."
Walters did get into the winner's enclosure courtesy of Tom Gamble, who led all the way under Conor O'Farrell to win the opening novice hurdle.
Top Gamble opened up a decisive advantage with a fine leap at the third last, and ran on well to see off Sidney Melbourne and Daryl Jacob, who held on for second.
"He's just kept galloping and ground them into submission ," he said. "After I jumped the third last I wanted to turn it into a test of stamina."