GBI RACING

Richard Mitford-Slade back on top at Taunton

Taunton action

Permit holder Richard Mitford-Slade saddled his second big-priced winner at Taunton within the space of a month after Applesolutely made a successful debut over hurdles.

The locally-based farmer hit the headlines after his first runner as a trainer, Samuel Jackson, claimed a 100-1 success at the Somerset circuit in mid-December. Samuel Jackson proved there was no fluke about the victory when following up at Bangor last week.

Dual point-to-point scorer Applesolutely was a 20-1 shot for the Somerset Chamber Of Commerce Maiden Hurdle on what was her first start under Rules since finishing down the field in a Uttoxeter bumper back in May 2016.

But she travelled strongly under Micheal Nolan and was good value for the winning margin of two and a quarter lengths.

Mitford-Slade now has Cheltenham Festival aspirations for Samuel Jackson.

He said: "He's been given a rating of 137. We'll have to consider the Albert Bartlett and whether there's a Graded race before then, I'm not sure.

"Before the mark came out I thought we might run him in a handicap at Exeter, but it's plenty high enough."

Point-to-point graduate Darcy Ward impressed in the Musgrove Staff Novices' Hurdle.

A winner between the flags last May, the five-year-old is named after the former speedway star whose career was ended by spinal injuries sustained in a crash in 2015.

Jack Barber's charge was a 14-1 shot for his debut under Rules and got the better of 11-10 favourite King Of Realms by three-quarters of a length.

Barber told Press Association Sport: "I know very little about speedway, but the owners are quite keen on it and that's where the name comes from.

"I'm delighted with the horse. He'd won his point-to-point and I've always liked him.

"I was a little bit worried about the ground. He's been ready to run since Boxing Day and I've been waiting for the ground to dry up, but we decided we'd let him take his chance.

"We'll wait for the better ground now and run him in an ordinary novice under the penalty and see how he gets on."

Trainer Dr Charles Levinson has big targets in mind for Premier Portrait (10-1) after he got up to deny Unioniste by a nose a thrilling Geoffrey Bosley "Tally Ho" Open Hunters' Chase.

Dr Levinson said: "Our main aim is probably the Aintree Foxhunters'. We might run him in the Cheltenham Foxhunter Chase as well, but that would be going-dependent as he doesn't want it too quick."

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