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Will a Letterston lad be the youngest ever Grand National winner?

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A JOCKEY from Letterston is aiming to become the youngest rider to ever win the Grand National on Saturday (Apr 14). James Bowen, 17, has already won the restaged Welsh National this year on Raz De Maree, but now hopes for success on Shantou Flyer in his first time racing at Aintree.

The Pembrokeshire teenager would be three months younger than Bruce Hobbs when he won on Battleship in 1938, and is hopeful, saying: “I can’t wait. Shantou Flyer has been there before. I know he pulled up (in last year’s National) but he jumped the fences well and hopefully he can give me a good spin round. He has a chance as well.”

Shantou Flyer, an 8 year old gelding trained by Richard Hobson, has finished runner up on his last four starts, including when Bowen rode him in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham. He pulled up before four out at last year’s Grand National, when trained by Rebecca Curtis, but has been assigned a 3lb lower mark this year.

Hobson describes Bowen as a ‘future champion jockey’ and went on to say: “James rode me a winner on Saturday and deserves his chance. It is nice as a small stable to be able to give him his first opportunity.”

The Bowen family hold some equestrian pedigree, with James’ father Peter training the winner of the Topham Chase four times, and his brother Sean rode in his first Grand National at 17 years old.

The only Welsh trained runner in the Grand National will be Buywise, owned by Hywel Jones of Dinas Powys, and trained by Evan Williams of the Vale of Glamorgan. Mr Jones is a director of TH&L Jones Pharmacies and notably owns Plunkett, the winner of the first race to be staged at Ffos Las in 2009, also trained by Williams.

The Beer & Cider Festival is returning to Ffos Las on Sunday, with seven national hunt jump races as well as live entertainment from The Rookz before and after racing. Hospitality has sold out but general admission tickets are still available from £10 per person.

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Ruthless Mariners power past Saints

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MILFORD Haven put in a ruthless display as they scored seventeen tries to beat St Davids 119-5 at the Obs on Saturday (Jan 5).

The Mariners were right at it from the kick off and did not let up as they held a 63-5 lead at the break.

James Trueman scored a hat trick of tries for the home side and he also went on to kick each of his 17 conversion attempts for a club record haul of 49 points.

Dan Jenkins also crossed for three tries while Dan Birch, Sam Dolling and Brandon Cooper all scored twice for the home side.

The Saints, to their credit, kept going and were rewarded in the first half when Josh Strangwood crossed for a try.

Jamie Lewis, Dewi Williams, Ryan Mansell, Dan McClelland and Steve Martin all got their names on the scoresheet to seal an emphatic victory.

The win keeps Milford top of the table by a point from rivals Neyland and on Saturday (Jan 12), they will face a sterner test as they travel to Laugharne.

The Saints remain third from bottom in the table and on Saturday they are at home to third placed Haverfordwest.

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Trundle leaves Bluebirds

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HAVERFORDWEST County have confirmed that star signing Lee Trundle has left the club.

The news was announced on Sunday, December 30, and the former Swansea City player has since signed for Welsh League Division 3 side Trefelin BGC.

In a statement released by the Bluebirds they thank Lee for his time at the club in which he scored 12 goals in all competitions.

A spokesperson for the club said: “Due to increasing work commitments, Lee Trundle has decided to leave Haverfordwest County and his last game was on Friday evening (Dec 28) at Ton Pentre where he scored two goals taking his tally for the Bluebirds to twelve in all competitions this season.

“Whist his stay at our club was shorter than we would have hoped, we fully understand his decision and everyone at the football club would like to thank Lee for his time here and the way he has conducted himself both on and off the field of play. Lee leaves with our sincere best wishes.”

Lee commented on Haverfordwest County’s Facebook page saying: “Good luck the rest of the season boys. Great club run by great people. Wish you all the best on the race for the league title this year.”

Fans of the club have also commented saying they are ‘gutted’ to see him leave and that he will be missed.

As well as Swansea, Lee has also played for Wrexham, Bristol City and Leeds United in his career.

It was announced in May 2018 that Trundle would be joining the Bluebirds having helped Llanelli Town to promotion to the Welsh Premier League.

Lee now joins a team that sit top of Division 3 and his inclusion is likely to give a further boost to their promotion hopes.

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Late Smith penalty seals Pembroke win

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A LATE penalty from Toby Smith earned Pembroke a 15-13 victory in a hard-fought encounter with Pembrokeshire rivals Fishguard on Saturday (Dec 29).

It was an excellent game between two good teams with Pembroke feeling a little rusty having not played for three weeks while the heavy pitch suited a Fishguard side who were looking to avenge their narrow 16-17 defeat at home to Pembroke earlier in the season.

There was no sign of rustiness however as the home side started the game well and could have gone ahead but Johnny Palmer was held up over the line.

Sean Dalling also looked to be free but he was ankle tapped near the line and the Seagulls were able to recover.

Having weathered the early storm the Seagulls then took the lead as Andrew Williams touched down under the posts. Kial Keane then added the extra two points.

Pembroke responded well and were soon back on level terms as Dan Colley ran a good line off Toby Smith to touch the ball down under the posts. Smith then added the extras.

The home side then went ahead as a good break by Tom Lewis set up captain Scott Powell who crashed over. This time the conversion was missed by Pembroke held a 12-7 lead.

They could have had a third try soon after as Dan Colley touched down but it was ruled out for a marginal forward pass.

The Seagulls then narrowed the gap as Keane scored a penalty and the score at half time was 12-10 in Pembroke’s favour.

In the second half Fishguard came at Pembroke well and they took the lead with another penalty from Keane to make it 12-13 to the visitors.

It was an evenly contested half but it was Pembroke who had the final say as Smith sent a penalty through the posts in the last minute to seal a 15-13 victory.

Pembroke’s win keeps them fourth in the table and they will look for another win on Saturday (Jan 5) as they host Carmarthen Athletic.

Fishguard will look to get back to winning ways as they travel to Burry Port who sit just below them in the table.

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