Jamessaintpatrick sparked joyous scenes from trainer Amy Murphy after ploughing through the mud to gain a first career success in the VDL Steelweld UK Handicap Hurdle at Warwick.
The Melbourne 10 Racing-owned four-year-old defied the Newmarket handler’s concerns about the ground to stay on gamely under Jack Quinlan – deputising for regular rider Lucy Barry, who was ill – before scoring by a length and a quarter.
While Newmarket handler Murphy was all smiles in the winner’s enclosure, the first thing she is likely to purchase is a new umbrella after a video posted on social media showed her breaking her existing one against her leg in excitement at the 16-1 shot’s success.
Murphy said: “One of the owners of Really Super, who ran in the Listed race, put the video up and my secretary saw it and decided to put it on our account. It is highly embarrassing, but we only have about a dozen jumpers and they all count.
“He has been a tricky horse to get right and him winning is as good as five winners, as he has had a lot of issues. I didn’t think he would handle the ground, as he is a beautiful mover.”
She added: “Lucy Barry has been my best friend since we were small – she manages the Melbourne 10 operation and it is great to have another winner for those boys and they have said that a new umbrella will be my Christmas present.”
Sensulano continued her progression over fences when completing trainer Noel Williams well-devised plan to form the opening leg of a double for Leighton Aspell with a five-length victory in the Listed Actioncoach Lady Godiva Mares’ Novices’ Chase.
Williams said of the 8-11 winner: “I had this in mind during the summer. I thought if we can get a couple of runs in and then come to this, it will be a good first half of the season target, provided she earns the right to come here – and she certainly did in her previous two races.
“She is my flagship horse and she is doing the job. I like my mares, as Briery Queen was my best horse to date and she is hot on her footsteps.”
The Oliver Sherwood-trained Book Of Gold (9-2) put all his issues aside when getting his act together to complete Aspell’s brace with a front-running 12 length victory in the Tom Gaughan Memorial Handicap Chase.
Halesowen Town Football Club director Keith McKenna hopes the victory secured by the Ian Williams-trained Fifrelet (13-2) in the M-Tec Consulting Group-sponsored bumper is a sign of things to come for his side in the FA Trophy on Saturday.
McKenna said: “We’ve got Bradford Park Avenue and it will be a tough game as they play two leagues above us in the National League North, but I’m quietly confident we can get a replay.
“This is my first winner and while beating Bradford Park Avenue would be a big scalp, it wouldn’t be as big a scalp as winning this today!”
Welsh Saint followed in the hoofprints of stablemate Birchdale to give trainer Nicky Henderson back-to-back victories in the Bethan-Megan-Elin Maiden Hurdle, showing stamina is his forte with a 15-length success.
Henderson said of the 11-10 favourite: “Apart from the ground this was a nice place to start, but we will move on quietly.
“He is stayer, but he is not a slow horse. I’d be keeping him at this sort of trip (two-miles-five) rather than rushing him up to three miles.”