SUE Smith’s winning run continued when Valence D’Aumont made all to win at Sedgefield under jockey Danny Cook to record a pleasing victory.
Better ground, and a drop back in trip to two miles, paid off for the six-year-old who is owned by Neil and Julie Morgan of Kalahari King fame.
Notable wins in January for Midnight Shadow and Vintage Clouds, amongst others, last month confirmed the well-being of the Smith string.
And a double for Tommy Dowson aboard the Phil Kirby-trained pair of Bertie Blake and Sincerely Resdev took the jockey’s tally of winners for the season to 22, equalling his previous best.
Dowson’s association with horses of the quality of Lady Buttons and Top Ville Ben – both are trained by Catterick-based Kirby – has eased his transition to senior status after losing his conditional rider’s claim earlier in the season.
He’s almost made the most of the long-term injuries suffered by the luckless Adam Nicol.
Nicky Henderson is hopeful that former King George Chase hero Might Bite can return to form at Newbury this weekend.
The horse is due to reappear in the Betfair Denman Chase where he is likely to meet his former nemesis Native River.
Might Bite came off second best to Native River in an epic renewal of the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup, a race for the ages.
But the horse has disappointed in recent runnings, parting company with Nico de Boinville at Aintree in December that left Native River, trained by Colin Tizzard, clear to record a facile win.
“We are just getting him back. We’ve done a few different things with him and he seems in good form,” said Henderson who has been perplexed by the horse’s recent form.
“He has been doing lots of schooling and jumping and been having fun.”
Hughie Morrison will make a late decision on the participation of Betfair Hurdle favourite Not So Sleepy.
The eight-year-old has been well fancied for Saturday’s valuable Newbury handicap ever since strolling to victory at Ascot under Jonathan Burke.
However, Morrison has so far refused to confirm his participation and with a tilt at the Champion Hurdle also mooted, the predominantly Flat trainer wants to make sure everything is in his favour before running this weekend.