Bothy maintained his unbeaten record over timber and qualified himself for the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival with a second success at Taunton.
Keith Mercer made the arduous journey to Somerset from Yorkshire last month to steer Brian Ellison’s representative to success and he repeated the dose in the Perception Matters Ltd Promotional Championship Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.
The 2-1 favourite required a third outing to be eligible to run in the Cotswolds and despite being punched along leaving the back straight, he coped best of all with the testing conditions to cross the line with almost four lengths in hand.
Bristol-based owner Dan Gilbert said: “The Fred Winter is the plan but if he doesn’t get in we can go for the Triumph instead.”
Mercer added: “It is proper National Hunt ground and is hard work for a Flat-bred horse.
“He did knuckle down well in the end and won with a bit in reserve.
“That’s the second time I have been down here to ride him and I’d love to keep the ride at Cheltenham.”
Next month’s Festival also beckons for Colin Tizzard’s The Jazz Musician after he made all in the Federation Of Small Businesses Championship Beginners’ Chase.
The 7-4 chance pinged every fence under the trainer’s son Joe to see off the 8-13 favourite Son Of Flicka and set up a crack at the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Tizzard senior said: “That was very pleasing and he will run again at Folkestone on Sunday to get qualified for the Jewson.”
Sanctuaire enjoyed his first start since arriving at Paul Nicholls’ championship-winning yard in November with a smooth success in the Retired Greyhound Trust (Somerset) “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle.
Worries over the 5-6 favourite pulling too hard proved unfounded as Ruby Walsh anchored him in rear before cutting through the field to pull four lengths clear.
Nicholls said: “He is the first horse Jared Sullivan has had with me and that is a nice start.
“He is now doing everything great and we will find another race like this for him.”
Ban Uisce and Mark Quinlan have struck up a fruitful partnership and they made it two from two in the Towergate Partnership “Hands And Heels” Jumps Series Handicap Hurdle.
The duo hit the target at Folkestone last month and again found themselves in the money as the Neil Mulholland-trained 11-4 favourite dashed away from Posh Emily to score by two and three-quarter lengths.
Mulholland’s assistant, Liz Harrington, said: “The ground was right for him at Lingfield last time but he didn’t like coming down the hill. He did stay on again when they turned for home but this flatter track has suited him much better.”
The heavy ground took its toll in the Dogs 4 Adoption/St Giles Kennels Handicap Chase as Holmwood Legend (8-1) came home 28 lengths clear to provide Pat Rodford with his first winner for 203 days.
Rodford commented: “He won a point-to-point so you would think he wanted three miles but he has appreciated the drop back in trip.”
Chloe Roddick celebrated her 27th birthday as she trained and rode 8-11 favourite Sericina to victory in the Pontispool Equine Sports Centre Hunters’ Chase, while Herald Angel was a divine selection at odds of 28-1 in the Butterworth Jones Chartered Accountants Handicap Hurdle.