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Copperless continues on the upgrade at Taunton

Copperless defied top-weight to highlight an Olly Murphy double at Taunton in the Ray Wonnacott 80 And Not Out Handicap Hurdle.

Considered by Murphy as one of his nicest prospects, the 15-8 favourite was ridden confidently by Champion Chase-winning jockey Aidan Coleman.

Given plenty of time to warm to his task after being anchored at the rear in the early stages, the six-year-old made his ground up very quickly rounding the home bend to assume command between the final two flights and score by a length from Chez Hans.

Olly Murphy predicts a bright future for Copperless
Olly Murphy predicts a bright future for Copperless (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He’s a very nice horse and in a weak race I thought the only thing that might get him is lack of experience,” said Murphy.

“He has plenty of ability and will improve. He has to have good ground.”

Murphy was earlier smiling from ear to ear after Grandads Cottge provided him with a first winner for popular owner John Hales in the Taunton Branch RNLI Supporters Novices’ Hurdle.

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The Harry Skelton-ridden winner engaged in a battle with Earth Lord and Time To Tinker up the final straight, with the former making a race of it but succumbing by a length to the 4-7 favourite.

Skelton – who later doubled up with the Jeremy Scott-trained Tactical Manoeuvre, matching the two winners for Brian Hughes at Wetherby – reported he felt Grandads Cottage will want three miles in time.

Murphy said: “I’m thrilled to have sent out my first winner in the famous Hales colours.

“This is a lovely horse, and dad (bloodstock agent Aiden Murphy) bought horses like Al Ferof and Nolan for John.

“I think he’s a horse for next year and is a lovely chaser in the making.”

Grandads Cottage clears the last en route to victory
Grandads Cottage clears the last en route to victory (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Camprond appealed as one of the nicest horses on view and duly opened his account when wearing down market rival Defining Battle for Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson in the Game And Wildlife Conservation Trust Maiden Hurdle.

The 2-1 shot made a couple of mistakes, but Johnson felt there was a genuine excuse for the errors, ones that failed to impair his momentum as he pulled a length and a half clear of his rival.

Hobbs’ wife Sarah said: “Richard said the horse was blinded at the first, which wasn’t his fault, and then two out he got blinded again when waiting to make his challenge.

“The important thing was that he is settling a bit better. He’s a lovely horse.”

Young O’Leary (9-2 joint-favourite) prevailed in a tight finish for the Invest Southwest Novices’ Handicap Chase from Tierra Verde.

David Prichard was on board for winning trainer Nigel Hawke, who said: “He’s got the job done, but was a bit short at the last.

“The ground was plenty quick enough as he’s a great big stamp of horse by Scorpion, but he could do no more than win.

“Although it’s late in the season we should all being well get a bit of rain so that I can run him again.”

Sumkindofking (left) on the way to victory
Sumkindofking (left) on the way to victory (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Joint top-weight Sumkindofking ultimately ran out a wide-margin winner of the Newton King Estate Agents Handicap Chase, but until approaching the final fence veteran Regal Flow gave an immaculate jumping display which earned him almost as much glory as the 11-1 winner.

Trained by Tom George, Sumkindofking benefitted from the 10lb claim of conditional Thomas Doggrell and looks a horse that can win again on the better ground, having been out of sorts on winter conditions until now.