Paul Stafford adds to gains at Hexham as Better B Quick rewards favourite backers

Irish trainer Paul Stafford kept up his fine run of form at Hexham as Better B Quick rewarded favourite-backers in the SIS Handicap Chase.

The County Dublin-based handler enjoyed a double at the Northumberland track’s fixture earlier this month and returned with a couple of challengers.

West Ship Master was narrowly denied earlier in the afternoon before 11-4 market leader Better B Quick got the job done under a confident ride from Jonathan Moore.

The Irish raider was kept company by Brother Scott from the home turn, but 7lb claimer Moore always had him covered and kicked clear from the final fence to score by three and a quarter lengths.

Newyearsresolution made late gains to pip Brother Scott to the runner-up spot.

Stafford said: “It’s great to get another winner here and the other horse we ran was only just beaten. The horses seem in good form at the moment.

“I’ve probably been training for about 10 years. Things have been quiet for the last few seasons, but we’ve started getting a few more horses and things have picked up.

“Hopefully things continue going the way they’re going.”

Malcolm Jefferson looks to have another smart youngster on his hands after Cyrus Darius landed the odds in impressive style in the SIS Novices’ Hurdle.

Sent off the 2-7 favourite following a successful jumping debut at Newcastle at the start of the month, the six-year-old had far too many guns for the 130-rated Captain Hox, passing the post with 23 lengths in hand.

“He’s a lovely horse and has a good engine. He’s a chaser in the making,” Jefferson said.

“I don’t know whether we’ll run him again (this season). He’ll get a few days out in the paddock and we’ll see after that.

“There’s Ayr and there’s Perth. He’s a novice until October and the sooner he goes over fences the better.”

A round trip in excess of 700 miles proved worthwhile for Onenightinvienna as he struck as the 4-9 favourite in the Chollerford Novices’ Hurdle for trainer Philip Hobbs and jockey Tom O’Brien. O’Brien doubled up in the first division of the bumper aboard Alan Swinbank’s 7-4 favourite Ten Trees.

There was a thrilling climax to the Primary Websites Handicap Chase as 10-1 shot Flaming Thistle came from a mile back to pip West Ship Master under an inspired ride from Scottish jockey Grant Cockburn. Cockburn said: “A huge leap at the last didn’t do him any favours, to be honest, but he’s gone up to the line pretty well.”

The Sue Smith-trained Palm Grey (3-1) favourite toughed it out in the John Smith’s Handicap Hurdle.

Winning jockey Jonathan England said: “He’s a nice type. He’ll probably improve for a bit better ground in the spring and summer type.”


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