Harry Cobden is just one winner behind Jump Jockeys’ Championship leader Brian Hughes after a double at Huntingdon, highlighted by his 50th success of the season aboard Wild Max.
Cobden continued his fine run of form on the five-year-old in the Download The tote App Michaelmas Hurdle, which was the third leg of an across-the-card four-timer for trainer Paul Nicholls.
“I always try and aim to ride 50 winners by January – so to get 50 by November is pretty good,” said the 22-year-old.
“I’m just looking forward to the rest of the season. Hopefully I can stay in one piece and keep on rolling.
“If we get March out of the way and I’m still there then it will be all guns blazing.
“This year is different to any others, because those that normally get 100 winners on the board early haven’t, so this season is a good one to give the title a go.”
Victory for the 2-1 favourite, who obliged by a neck, was compensation for defeat on last month’s seasonal return at Cheltenham – where he suffered interference at a crucial stage when still holding every chance.
Nicholls’ assistant Harry Derham said: “I was little nervous he was doing a fraction too much – he has almost travelled too well, because he has a lot of pace.
“He enjoys a flat track, and all of his wins have come on them. I’d like to think the better the race, the faster they go, the more he will relax.”
Master Tommytucker (4-5) got his chequered career over fences back on track – to get the ball rolling for both Cobden and Nicholls in the Download The tote App Intermediate Chase.
Having fallen in three of his previous five starts over fences, the lightly-raced nine-year-old put in an immaculate display of jumping to defeat his sole rival Precious Cargo by 12 lengths.
Derham said: “He didn’t have to have too much of a hard race there, which was nice. There is no doubt the engine is there – it was just a case of getting rid of those jumping errors.
“He will go to Haydock now, because there is a two-and-a-half-mile graduation chase there on Betfair Chase day, and it is worth quite a bit. ”
Having had to come to terms with the loss of Namib Dancer after his fall earlier in the card, trainer Emma Lavelle had her spirits lifted after Dollnamix struck at the 16th attempt in division two of the Download The tote App Handicap Hurdle.
Speaking away from the track, she said: “It is just the ups and downs of racing for you. Neither the horse or owners deserved that.
“I think Namib Dancer had a heart attack. He was doing everything right, then three or four strides before the hurdle (jockey) Aidan (Coleman) said he knew what was coming.”
On her 100-30 winner, Lavelle added: “Dollnamix has thrown a few races away before – but he has done everything right today, and that will do his confidence the world of good.”
Eileendover (28-1) saved the best until last when running out a facile 29-length winner on her debut in the tote.co.uk Ten To Follow “Junior” Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.
Winning trainer Pam Sly said: “She worked with one of my other useful ones Takeit Easy the other day – and I thought ‘that will do!’.
“She was supposed to run on the Flat but had problems with the stalls, but it’s a good job I didn’t go down that route now.
“I suppose we will look at getting some black type now.”