Ben Pauling was delighted to get himself back among the winners after claiming his first ever success at Musselburgh.
The Bourton-on-the-Water-based trainer had saddled just five previous winners this season, with his most recent success coming through Legal Eyes at Plumpton in late October.
Pauling shut down his yard entirely from November 7 to December 3 after a batch of hay lacking in potassium was found to be the root cause of the disappointing form of his string.
The horse to end the winless streak was Espoir De Loire, who made every yard of the running in the Visit racingtv.com Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Making his debut over regulation fences, the 11-2 chance jumped fluently on the whole in the hands of Daryl Jacob and passed the post two lengths clear of Benny’s Secret.
Pauling said: “It’s great to have a winner. It’s obviously been a tough time for all the owners and the staff.
“We actually haven’t had that many runners since our last winner. I think we’ve only had about 10 runners since Legal Eyes won in October, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
“We obviously had a month off entirely, which wasn’t easy. Not all the horses have run well since we started again, but these things don’t change overnight and we hope we’re over the worst of it now.”
Of Espoir De Loire, the trainer added: “He’s a very good jumper and when you jump well in those novice handicap chases they do take a lot of pegging back.
“We thought he’d be able to win off his mark and we were delighted to go and see him do it.”
Pauling and Jacob looked to have a good chance of completing a double an hour later, with Guena Des Mottes – a winner on his only previous start in France – prominent in the market for the Every Race Live On Racing TV Introductory Juvenile Hurdle.
However, he was back pedalling when suffering a crashing fall three flights from home.
“The horse is fine. He was jumping immaculately up to that point, but those are the ups and downs of racing,” said Pauling.
“Hopefully Daryl is OK as it was a nasty fall.”
Jacob, already sporting a black eye from a fall at Sandown last Friday, was reported to be “sore” by Musselburgh’s clerk of the course Harriet Graham, but did not need to go to hospital.