Teescomponents Lad (11-2) rewarded the efforts of the team of trainer Gillian Boanas when winning the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle for the second year running with a determined performance at Market Rasen this afternoon.
The eight year old was the first off the bridle under jockey Tom Midgley, but the son of Midnight Legend got better with every yard they went in the two mile and seven furlongs contest and held on gamely to score by three-quarters of a length after hitting the front at two out.
And Boanas, who revealed after the race that she clocks up around 100 hours of work a week, explained that the eight year old was a real favourite of hers.
Boanas, who is based at Lingdale in Redcar & Cleveland, said: “It’s fantastic. He’s so gutsy and it’s great for Tom Midgley who’s done nothing wrong on the horse this time and has run some great races in defeat – so they both deserve that really.
“They went a strong gallop early on and it’s probably not his ideal track as he wants a strong stamina test. Tom’s just tried to keep him interested and he probably got there too soon in the end, but he’s grand and just so straightforward to train.
“We tallied up the other week and I think I worked 100 hours, I’ll be out in the yard at five o’clock in the morning and then get in at seven in the evening most nights, so it’s very busy. We’ve got 20 horses in at the minute so it’s nine or ten lots a day sometimes, which can be a little full on.
“We’ve got a lot on and we’re a little bit out of the way, we could just do with another rider really but I’ve got three great girls and Tom comes in once a week – so we’re a good team.
“I didn’t have the heart to let him go to the sales, so I bought him off Teescomponents and we set the racing club up. He was my first ever runner at Catterick and was just touched off in a bumper first time out for me, so I’ve always had a little soft spot for him.”
Meanwhile, it proved to be a good afternoon for the Emma Lavelle team, who enjoyed an 11.5-1 double on the card. The first of those victories came with the Tom Bellamy-ridden Rocky Lake (6-4), who looked a nice prospect when winning the Pertemps Network "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle on his hurdling debut in the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings.
And Lavelle feels there ought to be plenty more to come from the son of Presenting. She said: “It was a lovely start for him, there’s lots of improvement to come and he’s just a really horse. We’ve had him since the summer, he’s come in and he’s only going to improve.
“He’s strengthening all the time and he’s got a great attitude, it wasn’t ideal to be out there making it but when there wasn’t much pace it makes sense to ride him that way. The last two jumps were his best two jumps, so hopefully there’s lots more to come. I think we could look to turn him back out from a penalty and see from there.”
Lavelle completed her double with Shiroccan Roll (4/1), who battled his way to the front in the Pertemps Network Handicap Chase, and she commented: “It was great and I think the visor helped with the jumping, he was much slicker and I’m delighted for Joe (Anderson, jockey), it’s great for him. It was just good to see him really attacking his fences as he hasn’t done that for a while and hopefully that will give him confidence.”
When asked about her good record at the Lincolnshire course, she cited her staff’s love of the complimentary box of Pipers Crisps which are handed out to winning yards as an enticing draw. She said: “The reason I think that Market Rasen is a good track for us as it’s quite a good hike from where we are, so we tend to run things that have a chance here! It’s been a lucky track for us and it’s great for staff because they absolutely love the crisps!”
Shiroccan Roll provided a fifth career winner for jockey Joe Anderson, who lost his 10lbs claim and he said: “The visor has really made a difference today. Initially he wasn’t going forward into his fences, but at three out he’s taken off and I was happy for him to bowl away and he’s stuck on really well. Thank God, it’s been a while coming! Emma and Barry (Fenton) have been great to me and given the opportunities to ride horses like him, so happy days.”
Other notable winners on the card included the Kim Bailey-trained The Edgar Wallace (7-2), who impressed when making a winning chasing debut in the Pertemps Network Novices' Limited Handicap Chase.
The Edgar Wallace boasts a nice pedigree, being a half-brother to the smart performer Black Hercules, and Bailey’s assistant Mat Nicholls, was hopeful that the son of Flemensfirth could enjoy a productive year over the larger obstacles.
He said: “He’s a natural chaser. Phil Andrews (owner) has wanted long distance chasers and he bought a lot of young horses and they’re getting to the age now where they’re jumping fences. He jumped very well in spite of the track I’d say – it’s not ideal for how he runs but we’ve come where the ground is.
“It depends what the handicapper does but I’d like to think that we could go somewhere quite smart next time out. Hopefully he can move up the ranks in these novice handicap chases as he’s a proper horse with a great pedigree.”
The colours of owner Gay Smith, wife of Coolmore partner Derrick Smith, have been carried with distinction in Jump racing over the years by the likes of high-class staying hurdler Black Jack Ketchum. The latest recruit to carry the Smith silks is Springwell Bay, who looked a smart prospect when justifying 8-11 favouritism by 14 lengths in the concluding Pertemps Network Open National Hunt Flat Race,
Successful jockey Jonjo O’Neill Jr, partnering his first winner since returning from a shoulder injury, said: “I’m not sure how good a race it was, but he gave me a nice feel and couldn’t have done it any more impressively.
“We bought him in April. He’s a very straightforward horse and I’d imagine as he’s only four he’ll stay in bumpers this season. If he went over hurdles he’d have lost half the season and he looks the type to perform well in bumpers. We’ll maybe look towards some targets in the spring. He’s still growing a bit and is a lovely horse.”