Double delight for trainer Simon Hodgson at Wincanton

Thu 9 Mar 2017

Simon Hodgson saddled his first winners over jumps since November 2013 when Daytime Ahead and General Girling provided him with a double at Wincanton.

The dual-purpose handler, who has trained winners on the Flat in that time, trains locally to the course and was relieved to finally end a long losing run.

Daytime Ahead had not even been placed in any of her nine previous runs and was sent off at 14-1 under Nick Scholfield, but she won the Bathwick Tyres Trowbridge Handicap Hurdle by half a length.

"That was a big step forward, she got stuck in the mud last time at Exeter," said Hodgson.

"I've been desperate to give Nick a winner as he does a lot of work at our yard.

"I've been on the cold list for so long yet I must have had 20 placed horses since our last winner. It's nice to get off it, though.

"I only live 10 minutes down the road so this is my local track."

General Girling's win in the novice handicap chase was an even bigger surprise at 50-1, with the first-time visor having the desired effect.

Jockey Mitch Bastyan, who only rode his first winner earlier in the week, was positive in the home straight and nothing got near him.

Trainer Michael Blake was pleased there was no Harry Fry representative for his Coole Cody (1-2 favourite) to beat in the two-and-a-half-mile maiden hurdle having been beaten three times by such runners previously.

"We had no Harry Fry horses to beat!" beamed Blake.

"He's an embryo chaser which is why we weren't afraid to run now.

"We might have one more run, he's growing up now, he had a hood on but was more relaxed today."

Unison (11-8 favourite) won again for Jeremy Scott in the two-mile handicap hurdle but it did not look likely for much of the race with Matt Griffiths working hard down the back straight.

"He's a lovely little horse and a favourite of mine," Scott told Racing UK.

"It wasn't that competitive today, I wasn't going to declare but there weren't many in and this is my local track.

"He did that nicely today in the end but it was still hard enough work for him.

"We walked the course before but whether it made a massive difference I don't know."

Dawson City (3-1 favourite) may have benefited from the fall of Regal Flow in the extended three-mile handicap chase

Trainer Polly Gundry said:"He d eserved a change of luck.

"Wayne (Hutchinson) actually thought he had Regal Flow covered but who knows.

"He tries his socks off but doesn't have much finishing speed, he needs a proper trip and it would be a nice idea to aim at the Scottish National."

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