There was plenty of exciting racing, including a double for jockey Nick Schofield, for punters to enjoy in the Taunton sunshine yesterday afternoon.
The opening race a selling hurdle was very much a two horse race between Take of Shocs a 7/2 shot trained by Rebecca Curtis who led from the off and Gordon Elliott’s Oscar Hill which started 8/11 favourite who remained in close touch throughout.
The Curtis trained horse led at the top of the home straight for the last time but going into the final fence Oscar Hill jumped into the lead and drew away at the line to give Tom O’Brien his 47th winner of the season.
Badour, under Tom Scudamore was the early leader in the second race, a novices’ hurdle over two miles three and a half furlongs, but Paul Nicholls trained Suerte Al Salto (3/1) was never far away and coming into the final jump had been joined by Alan King’s Kenai Peninsular (16/1). The King horse making his hurdling debut went ahead as they landed and drew away to win by two and a quarter lengths with The Jugopolist third at 13/8.
The most valuable race, the Beginners Chase over two miles and half a furlong saw Sew On Target under claimer Brendon Powell make most of the early running, but Majala, trained by Tom George and ridden by Denis O’Regan was always close by and coming around home turn took the lead and drew away to win by 10 lengths from second placed Renard D’Irlande (7/2)
Schofield claimed his first win when he produced the Jeremy Scott trained Quaddick Lane (4/1) at just the right time to win the handicap hurdle race (Class 3) over just short of two and a half miles.
The local favourite was neck and neck with Grafite (5/1) over the last but drew away to win by three and a half lengths.
The longest race of the day a novices’ handicap hurdle over three miles and half furlong was won by the Jim Old trained Okafranca an 11/1 shot. Returning to action after 664 days Okafranca came to the front out of the final flight and went away to win in emphatic style by 11 lengths from second placed Bravo Bravo (8/1) trained by Mark Gillard at Sherborne.
The second chase saw Thedreamisstillalive take the lead which at one stage stretched to 11 lengths, but he was gradually reeled back in and going down the back straight for the final time Musical Legend (5/1) under Schofield and the Jackie du Plessis trained favourite For the Staff (evens) went ahead.
The leading two drew away from the chasing field and at the top of the home straight Musical Legend led by five lengths which he extended to 14 by the time the race was over.
The final race was won by a mares’ handicap hurdle over two miles one, was won by the Kevin Bishop trained Queens Grove (11/4 favourite) under James Best, but she was chased all the way to the line by second placed Buxom (11/2) trained by Jamie Snowdon and ridden by Tom O’Brien.
Taunton race again on Thursday, December 13, when the seven race card gets going at 12.50pm.