Seeyouatmidnight made it second-time lucky over fences and Neptune Equester won the Persimmon Homes Scottish Borders National for the second successive year on a great day for trainer Sandy Thomson at Kelso.
Seeyouatmidnight was a Grade Two winner over hurdles last season but had to settle for third behind Silsol on his fencing bow at Carlisle last month.
That rival was in opposition again in the Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Course Paris Pike Novices’ Chase but with the seven-year-old in receipt of 10lb, he comprehensively reversed the form with that rival.
Sent off the 5-6 favourite, Brian Hughes was positive from the off on Seeyouatmidnight, drawing clear a couple of fences from home before going on to win by 13 lengths from Silsol.
Thomson told Racing UK: “He wasn’t particularly fit first time out. I didn’t really want to run him there, but we were sort of forced into it as we had nowhere else to go. He jumped well in the main but was just a bit sluggish.
“Today, Brian has kicked him into the first couple and he’s jumped from fence-to-fence.
“We’ll probably have to go south with him but there’s a race for him at Wetherby in February [Towton] and then we’ll go onto the Festival.”
Neptune Equester (11-4 joint-favourite) was under pressure for most of the four miles in the Borders National but his endless reserves of stamina kicked in. Derek Fox kept on persevering and ended up beating Presented by 16 lengths.
At Musselburgh today, Irish raider Fagan can make a successful start to his career over jumps in the British Stallion Studs EBF “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle. After seeing his charge show up well in a Perth bumper for Ian Ferguson in July of last year, owner Ronnie Bartlett sent his five-year-old to Ireland and it has proved to be a good move.
The son of Fair Mix won three point-to-points earlier this year and struck gold twice in bumpers at Perth and Ayr this autumn to confirm his talent.
He should be difficult to beat on his return to East Lothian in the hands of title-chasing Richard Johnson.
Meanwhile, Supersta won easily on his first visit to Chelmsford and can follow up on his return to Essex in the totepool Supporting The Sport You Love Handicap.
A decent stick for Ron Harris earlier in his career, the four-year-old switched hands for just £4,500 in September and that is already looking a shrewd bit of business.
Although his first couple of starts for Michael Appleby at Musselburgh and Ayr were not that inspiring, a return to the all-weather yielded a big improvement when just touched off at Wolverhampton in October and he returned to Dunstall Park a week later to go one better.
Seemingly buoyed by that first triumph in well over a year, Supersta made a mockery of a 5lb rise when scoring comfortably here a week and a half ago and in current mood, a further 7lb hike is unlikely to be enough to stop him completing the hat-trick.
The William Haggas-trained Alshaqee sets a decent standard in the opening Celebrate Christmas At Chelmsford City Racecourse Maiden Stakes.
The Equiano juvenile could never recover from a tardy start on his racecourse introduction at York in September, but his fourth-placed finish at Bath the following month was a step in the right direction and he has continued his progress since tackling artificial surfaces, filling the runner-up spot at Lingfield and Wolverhampton.
He will not be winning out of turn if he can go one better under Tom Queally.
Appleby might also be on the mark at Lingfield, where new recruit Taysh is of interest in the feature Coral Handicap.
The American-bred three-year-old chased home the talented but ill-fated Capel Path on his Newcastle debut for John Gosden as a juvenile before readily getting off the mark at Lingfield.
He made his handicap debut at Wolverhampton in the spring and was unfortunate to bump into a very smart sort in Always Smile, a filly who was only narrowly beaten in the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot when last seen. Considering the solidity of his form, Taysh looks another bargain buy at £7,000 and should do well for his talented trainer this winter.
12:45 Triple Eight
2:20 Tap Night (nap)
2:50 Benefit In Kind
3:20 Dubai Devils
2:40 Rupert Boy
3:10 Diamond Lady
3:40 Dutch Art Dealer
12:30 Thief Of Hearts
1:00 Roy’s Legacy
1:30 Imperial Aviator
2:30 Crystal Malt
3:00 Russian Reward
3:30 Spinning Cobblers
2:20 Musselburgh Supersta