Paddy Merrigan is making a name for himself as a rider of some potential and to prove the point he booted home his first double on The Pen and Model Son at Wetherby.
The former sparked the 23-1 brace when she made a winning start to her jumping career in the Northern Jump Jockeys Supporting Spinal Research Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle.
Patrick Haslam’s filly won twice as a two-year-old but had been out of luck on the Flat this year. However, the 10-1 chance proved too good for her rivals on her hurdling bow.
Merrigan followed up 35 minutes later when he enjoyed a comfortable success on Model Son for his boss Heather Dalton in the Rocom NEC Beginners’ Chase.
The 6-5 favourite jumped boldly in the lead and won eased down by a length and a half from his stable companion Premium First.
“That’s 17 winners now and my first double,” the 7lb claimer from Athlone said. “I’ve been in England just over a year and it’s great to have support from Mrs Dalton and Mr Haslam.”
Mrs Dalton added: “I’ve got a lot of faith in Paddy. He listens to everything you tell him which is important.”
And of the winner, she said: “I told him not to go too deep here because the fences are big, and you’ve got to let them stand off a bit, but I think he’s given him a great ride.”
Merrigan looked to have good prospects of a treble on Mags Two in the Spinal Research Day Novices’ Handicap Hurdle but the 7-2 favourite could manage only third behind the 16-1 winner Stoneravinmad.
Full House earned a tilt at the £50,000 (€73,000) Blue Square Chase at Windsor next month with a stylish victory in the skybet.com Supporting Spinal Research Bobby Renton Handicap Chase.
Paul Webber’s progressive six-year-old jumped fluently for Tom Doyle to win by four lengths from Vandas Choice.
Full House was making amends for a fall three from home at Market Rasen last time when he was in pursuit of the eventual runaway winner.
“We cannot work out why Full House has ended up on the ground a couple of times,” said Webber.
“But he was very accurate this time. He’s got loads of ability and he settled a bit better.
“We’ll look at the race that was the First National Gold Cup at Windsor on November 19 – so long as it doesn’t pour with rain like it did last year – that would be ideal for him. Decent ground is important to him.”
Tony Dobbin took his tally of British winners to 1,001 when he gave Crathorne a good ride to take the Wetherby Racecourse “Your Conference Venue For Leeds” Handicap Hurdle.
Trainer Martin Todhunter was full of praise for Dobbin and said: “Dobbs gave him a brilliant tactical ride. He knew he’d get the trip and he got a nice lead and then he began to wind it up round the bend and this horse just kept galloping.”
Flotta made all the running to land the Jimmy & Jane FitzGerald Memorial Novices’ Hurdle by a length and a half from Love That Benny.
The 4-7 winner was following up a recent Fontwell success and he could now be in line for a well-earned rest.
Trainer Brendan Powell said: “He’s had a few tough races and I just think he’s had enough now so we might just give him a break.
“We’ve schooled him over fences and we’ve got that option later in the season. I think next summer he could win a nice novice chase or two.”