Iron Bridge landed a poignant success when becoming the first horse to win in the famous colours of Trevor Hemmings since the owner’s death earlier this month.
The five-year-old son of Milan made a winning debut over jumps in division two of the Call Star Sports On 08000 521 321 Maiden Hurdle at Ffos Las.
Leading at the second-last flight, the Jonjo O’Neill-trained gelding kept on in game fashion to hold Bill Baxter by two and a half lengths in the hands of Richie McLernon at odds of 9-2.
“He likes the soft ground, and it was just nice to get the colours in the winner’s enclosure,” said O’Neill, who was naturally delighted to send out a winner in the familiar yellow, green and white Hemmings silks which have prevailed in so many top jumps races for a multitude of trainers over the years, including three Grand Nationals.
“It’s quite emotional really. He was such a great old character, Trevor. This lad won (a bumper) at Tipperary in soft ground, and Trevor rang me and said ‘will he be good enough for you?’
“I just said whatever you send is good enough, so it’s nice he came out and won – I’m delighted for everybody really.
“They are great colours, and I’m delighted to have a winner for them. Everybody loved Trevor, so he’s a popular winner.”
O’Neill and McLernon struck in division one of the same race, with Monbeg Genius (6-1), while the yard’s Cawthorne Lad (25-1) also scored under Alain Cawley in the Charlotte Cole Memorial Handicap Chase at Stratford – for a 1000-1 treble for the Jackdaws Castle trainer.