WINCANTON RACEDAY NEWS: Harris roars home stable favourite Aintree My Dream and Nolan brings up first double of the season
Trainer Milton Harris ensured his voice was the only one heard in the near-empty stands at Wincanton following the victory of stable stalwart Aintree My Dream in the Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap Chase.
The evergreen 11-year-old received plenty of vocal encouragement from his enthusiastic trainer after jumping the last alongside the hat-trick seeking Flagrant Deltiep in the 2m 4f contest, before going on to taste victory for the first time this season.
Although having finished second in three of his five previous starts, the 11-1 chance showed a willing attitude to gain a deserved change of luck when sticking his head out in game fashion to get up and score by half a length.
Harris said: "The owner has been with me since I started through thick and thin and we have had lots of good horses. I bought this off Dan (Skelton) who is a good mate of mine and he has been an absolute legend.
"Paddy (Brennan) has got beaten on him a couple of times and he has driven Paddy mad, but I am pleased for the horse and owner.
Explaining the name, Harris said:
"Sometimes you could criticise him and you think has he gone through with it but I think he is just too honest. Someone bought him as a big strong horse with a view of going to Aintree but it ain't going to happen for him, but he has been a legend of a horse.
"We got a little nine year old boy in riding him this week just in the school called Anderson (Tieman), who is the son of a local publican. He comes in on the school holidays, though he wouldn't ride him on the gallops. We try and encourage the youngsters to come in the yard and have a nice time.
Meanwhile Micheal Nolan gave his season a timely boost by celebrating the first double of the campaign, secured by three and three quarter length victory of the Philip Hobbs-trained Pol Crocan (17-2) in division two of the Betway National Hunt Novices Hurdle.
The winning rider said: "That is my first double of the season and I'd say I'd not had one last season either. The ground is a big factor for this guy. I know this is only two miles but again he was a bit keen and that is why he is here over two miles. He had that experience of a proper race last day he was a lot more switched on. He was a bit keener, travelled better, jumped better - he just stayed. Longshanks got the ball rolling for both Nolan and Hobbs when springing something of a surprise in division one of the two-mile contest after defeating 4-9 favourite Pozy Emery by two lengths. Nolan said of the 10-1 shot: "He fell two starts ago with me at Chepstow. We came here the last day to ride him just to get his confidence back and to go and have a nice round. "Today he looked a different horse and the penny dropped. He travelled so comfortably all the way I just had to keep hold of him until half way down the straight. I know it is the old cliche but chasing is his job.