Bryony Frost warmed up for what could potentially be a big weekend with Grade One scorer Black Corton by celebrating her first winner at Leicester on Thursday.
The 23-year-old, who will partner the Paul Nicholls-trained eight-year-old in a Listed event at Kempton on Saturday and Canyon City for Neil King in the Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle, teamed up with the latter to take the Dove Selling Hurdle aboard Regulation by a length and a half.
Frost said of the 100-30 winner: “Going down to the last with the loose horse running in front of him, he had every excuse to say ‘I’m looking for a way out it’. But he is honest, tries hard and wants to win.
“I’ve had terrible luck here and I don’t think I’ve actually got round. So today, finally, we can tick another track off the list.”
On being re-united with Black Corton, Frost added: “I schooled him in the week and he schooled great. He has just done his routine up to now.
“We are obviously dropping in trip, but he likes Kempton. It is a little bit unknown in that respect, but all I can say is that we are looking forward to getting there on Saturday and it is great to get back on him.
“Fingers crossed for a safe, positive round and that we can get him back on track.”
Owner Craig Buckingham had his nerves tested before Desirable Court moved Harry Skelton on to his best ever seasonal total of 132 winners when taking the Listed Charnwood Forest Mares’ Chase by three-quarters of a length
Buckingham said of the Dan Skelton-trained 1-2 winner: “She only ran 13 days ago and Harry has jumped off after two and a half and said she wants three.
“This was always going to be a bit tight pace-wise, but she has shown some guts and courage again.
“We couldn’t afford not to come here with the field it was to try to make her a Listed winner. She won’t run now until probably the mares’ meeting at Cheltenham.”
Brecon Hill earned a potential step up to Graded company after raising the spirits of trainer Sarah Humphrey in her absence when pulling out plenty to take the Leicester Annual Badge Holders’ Novices’ Hurdle by four and a half lengths.
The trainer’s husband Tony said: “It was a tough race and we were very pleased with him. We brought him about 18 months ago and he was quite difficult to train. Sarah has done an unbelievable job with him.
“We will stick to novice races for the moment. The Dovecote might be something Sarah will consider.
“She has been laid low for the week with a terrible virus. She said she was feeling so bad she didn’t know whether she would watch it, but she called me after the race.”
Twelve months after capturing the Chieftain Handicap Hurdle with subsequent Imperial Cup winner Mr Antolini, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies repeated the trick after Turning Gold ran his rivals ragged from the front to take the extended one-mile-seven-furlong prize by 13 lengths.
Peter Murphy, member of the Turning Gold syndicate, said of the 5-1 winner: “Sparky (Richard Bevis, head lad) told him (Tom Bellamy) to go out there in front.
“We’ve had a bit of fun with him already and he was fifth in the Fred Winter. Hopefully he will improve stepping up in trip. We don’t mind what he wins as long as he wins!”