North Devon trainer Nick Williams paid his first visit to Newcastle racecourse and the 690-mile round trip was rewarded when Philson Run ran out a very game winner of the totesport Eider Chase.
The four miles and one furlong proved a predictably gruelling test in the heavy ground, but the winner is blessed with bottomless stamina and he took up the running three out.
The race was far from over, however, and he had to dig very deep and answer Graham Lee’s every call to hold off the challenge of High Cotton by one and a quarter lengths, with Korelo just a further half-length away in third place and Baron Windrush another one and a quarter lengths adrift in fourth.
Williams, who has a team of 10, said: “This is our first runner here and we could not have made a better start!
“Philson Run was idling in front, the same as he did when he won the Midlands Grand National for Paul Carberry, but I knew he would stay as he had won over four miles before and we thought he had every chance because we knew we had had come with a fit horse.
“He would not get in this year’s Grand National, but we will be aiming him at that race next year and if we can get him right he will run again in the Midlands Grand National on the Saturday after Cheltenham.
“Graham has ridden for me only once before and that was a winner so it is two out of two for us now.”
Lee, left one short of a century for the season, was winning the race for the first time.
“That was hard work, those were very brave horses out there,” he said.
High Cotton, who was 9lb out of the handicap, was ridden by his trainer Keith Reveley’s son James, but there was sadness for the stable as Malek broke a leg and was put down.
Lee hoped to reach the century on Kilmackilloge in the concluding totesportcasino.com Novices’ Hurdle but they had to be content with the runner-up spot behind the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained, Carl Llewellyn-ridden, Nikola.
The totesport 0800 221 221 Novices’ Chase was a dramatic affair with Olney Lad falling when holding every chance two out and then Wild Cane Ridge suffering a similar fate when upsides the eventual winner King Killone at the final fence.
King Killone was partnered by David O’Meara and his owner- trainer Harry Hogarth said: “This is not the ideal ground for him, but he goes on it. He jumps and that is the name of the game. He is a nice horse in the making.”
Cody, well ridden by Mike McEvoy, landed the toteexacta Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, with the win bringing back memories for trainer James Moffatt, who said: “My father Dudley won this race in 1998 with Vilprano for the same owners, the Vilprano Partnership.”
Maurice Barnes’ Torkinking was right out of luck last time at Uttoxeter last time but things went in his favour as he ran out a game winner of the totesport.com Handicap Hurdle in the hands of conditional Ben Orde-Powlett.
Barnes recalled: “Last time at Uttoxeter there was a false start and the jockey’s saddle slipped, and when he went back behind the tape the saddle was still up the horse’s neck but they were let go before he got it sorted out – it was controversial to say the least!
“The ground is crucial to this little horse, he likes some cut and there may be a race back here for him in 10 days’ time.”
Orde-Powlett was cautioned for careless riding, his mount having been deemed to have interfered with the runner-up Don’t Call Me Derek.
Peter Monteith provided a timely success when Brave Thought ran out an appropriate winner of the totescoop6 Handicap Chase under a splendid ride from Timmy Murphy.
Through The Rye looked as if he was coming to win his race when he tipped up at the last fence, leaving Flight Command clear but the latter was caught in the last 100 yards by Brave Thought, whose chance appeared to have gone when he made a mistake two out.
Brave Thought carries the colours of Hamilton House Ltd and Monteith said: “The horse is owned by Helen Hamilton’s family and it is great to have a winner here for her today because Helen owned and trained Peaty Sandy, who won 10 races at the course including the Eider Chase in 1987!”
Edwin Tuer’s consistent Euro American justified good market support with a decisive success in the hands of Alan Dempsey in the toteplacepot Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.
The six-year-old did not appear to quite last home when runner-up over two miles, six furlongs at Market Rasen last time and he was clearly suited by this quarter-mile shorter trip.