With the Cheltenham Festival just ten days away, jockey Sam Waley-Cohen enjoyed a confidence boosting win on Ashtown Boy at Tweseldown on Sunday, writes Robin Gray.
Sam, aiming to repeat his Cheltenham Gold Cup success of last year on his father Robert's Long Run, took the Connollys Red Mills Intermediate by three quarters of a length from Thenford Ryde, ridden by 16 year old Francesca Hickman.
'Sam has ridden five winners from his last ten rides,' said his father afterwards, 'that includes Long Run's recent Newbury success, so let's hope he can maintain momentum until Friday week!'
The race was worth £175 to the winner but the stewards quickly relieved Waley-Cohen of £75 - the penalty for failing to run Ashtown Boy in the cheek pieces for which he had been declared.
Frankie Hickman went one better in the Aga Ladies Open an hour later to score her third success of the season on Mount Sandel who made virtually all the running to beat Hope Sound by 20 lengths.
Mount Sandel will miss both the Cheltenham and Aintree Foxhunters in favour of one of the hunter chases at Stratford later in the season.
Lisa Stock was taken to Frimley Park Hospital for precautionary X-rays after Katepast fell in the fifth race, but was discharged with nothing worse than serious bruising.
Katepast's fall damaged the first fence sufficiently for it to be by-passed in the final race, leaving just 14 fences for the 11 runners to negotiate. By this time the blizzard which had opened the afternoon had abated and the visibility improved sufficiently to note that High Ho Sheriff would run out an easy winner.