Johnson and O'Regan make hay at Newcastle

HOWARD Johnson and Denis O'Regan completed a near 58-1 Newcastle treble with Diamond Frontier, The Knoxs and Toy Gun as jumps racing in the north returned from a 35-day hiatus.

Diamond Frontier, who like The Knoxs is owned by Graham and Andrea Wylie, firstly made all the running to win the John Smith's Beginners' Chase by 11 lengths from Justtheoneforyou.

Half an hour later, The Knoxs, a winner at the course in November, had to work a bit harder for his success in the novices' hurdle – but stuck to his task in game style to hold off the challenge of the well-regarded Wymott. Wylie said: "Diamond Frontier loves soft ground and he jumped well, though Denis said he was a bit exuberant sometimes. The last time he did not enjoy going right-handed at Carlisle but he has done it well here – though he got a bit tired in the closing stages."

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Of The Knoxs, Wylie added: "That is a nice surprise, I honestly thought he would come second. I know that Donald McCain thinks a lot of his horse (Wymott) and we had never tried three miles before with The Knoxs."

Toy Gun, carrying the colours of the Ellenvalley Optimists, came out best in the handicap chase.

Johnson's assistant Ray Hawkey said: "All credit to Howard – he has kept the horses on the go through the snow. They haven't been galloping, but some have been to the beach and they have missed very little work."

O'Regan is, however, facing up to a lengthy suspension after Royal Rosa finished fifth to Its Teescomponents in the Parklands Golf Course Handicap. He will be sidelined from 3-11 February after using his whip excessively.