A double for Somerset-based trainer David Pipe at his local course gave the large holiday crowd at Taunton much to cheer about yesterday, when there was plenty of exciting action on offer.
The opener, the Bet Toteplacepot at Totepool.com Novices' Hurdle, raced just over two miles and three furlongs, saw Electrolyser go off as the 4-7 on favourite, but the Nicky Henderson-trained horse was rarely better than the middle of the pack.
Over the last it looked as though the Paul Nicholls-trained Sidney Melbourne (7-1), returning after a long lay-off, was going to win but he was just caught by Kilmurvy, a 12-1 shot from Jeremy Scott's yard on the run-in, while outsider King Spirit was third at 33-1.
Pipe notched up the first of his winners in the G.T.Wyatt 70th Birthday Handicap Hurdle, over two miles, when Home Run (15-8 favourite), owned by his father, Martin, won by two and three quarter lengths from Extremely So, which went off at 16-1.
Outsider Seventh Hussar led for much of the Bet Totequadpot at Totepool.com Novices' Handicap Chase over just short of two and a half miles, but, coming down the home straight, it was difficult to separate the three front-runners and at the line it was Midnight Charmer, a 4-1 chance under claimer James Banks, that won by a neck from Master Flight (6-4 favourite) trained by Scott, while Russian Song was third at 10-1.
The Totepool.com Mares' Novices' Hurdle Race, the feature race over two miles and worth £20,000, turned out to be a real battle between two of the leading jockeys, Barry Geraghty on Ma Filleule (4-6 favourite) for Henderson, and AP McCoy, who took over the ride on Mischievous Milly (11-2) for Oliver Sherwood.
The champion jockey waited patiently and then produced his horse coming down the finishing straight. The canny McCoy held on to win by two and a quarter lengths from Geraghty.
In the Bet Toteexacta at Totepool.Com Handicap Steeple Chase, over just short of three miles, Charlie Mann's Fine Parchment led for much of the race but, as the final stages unfolded, Tom Scudamore brought No Secrets (5-1) to the front and ran out the winner by two and three quarter lengths from the Mann-trained horse to give Pipe his second success of the day.
The Steve Logan Memorial (County Contractors) Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle, over just short of two and a half miles, saw Ifyouletmefinish (4-1), ridden by Matt Griffiths for Exmoor trainer Jeremy Scott, and Landscape (4-1), the mount of Harry Dereham for Nicholls, battling it out from two home. In the end, it was the Nicholls horse that just had too much in the tank for the top weight.
The final action of the day, the Totepool Mobile Cashback Text Tote To 89660 Handicap Hurdle, saw Jupiter Rex, a 5-1 shot from the Venetia Williams yard, run out the comfortable winner from the Kevin Bishop-trained Bernard (6-1), with Hobbs Dream third at 7-1.
Taunton's opening fixture of 2013 is on Monday, January 7, when the first race goes to post at 1.10pm.