Probus strikes Fontwell gold
Daryl Jacob's luck took a turn for the better at Fontwell when Father Probus won on his first start for Nick Williams in the Michael Afflick Is Great @Paddy Power Novices' Handicap Chase.
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Jacob has not enjoyed much good fortune in the last few days as he picked up a 10-day ban at Wincanton which, if his appeal is unsuccessful, will rule him out of the lucrative Christmas period.
To top off a bad week, Jacob was narrowly denied a big pay day in the Becher Chase when Join Together only just failed to reel in the veteran Hello Bud at Aintree.
He was positive from the outset aboard Father Probus (5-2 favourite) and beat Emperor's Choice by a length and three-quarters.
"He is a nice horse and this was his first run for Nick, he jumped well enough," said Jacob.
"The ground is as testing as I've known it, it's hard work and very gluey.
"I think he'd be a little bit better on better ground, but it's hard work for all the horses.
"Nick has his horses running very well, but it's nice for me to ride another winner for him as I kept on finishing second."
Gary Moore is local to the track and his only runner of the afternoon obliged in the form of De Blacksmith (8-1) in the Country Farm And Seafood Novices' Hurdle.
Moore is already thinking of sending him over fences but will wait until next season to take the plunge.
"He was relatively cheap by the standards nowadays (£12,500)," Moore told At The Races.
"He'll spend the rest of his year over hurdles now he's won a novice, we're halfway through this season already nearly, so there's no point going novice chasing yet.
"He jumps fences very well. When he ran last time, what he did wrong was jump his hurdles too big and he was giving far too much ground away.
"We've since schooled him quite a lot and he was quite slick today, that's made the difference. He was accurate and making ground at his hurdles.
"I think he'll go on better ground, but he coped with that better than the rest of them."
Colin Bolger was delighted with the performance of Suzy Smith's Invicta Lake (11-2), who stayed on powerfully to win the Wellpool Proud To Sponsor Leonna Mayor Handicap Hurdle (Supporting The Tiana Honey Watson Fund) by four lengths.
"He'd been running really well in novices but just kept bumping into one or two," said Bolger.
"Today was his first run in handicap company and he's done it well, he's done what we thought he would do.
"He'll handle better ground. Not many will go through that ground.
"His jumping was wonderful, he never missed a beat the whole way. He's honest and tough and he'll stay further. He'll probably make a nice novice chaser next season."
Leighton Aspell's good run continued as he partnered Peter Hedger's Whipcrackaway (11-8) to success in the Wellpool Proud To Sponsor Steve Jakes Racing Juvenile Hurdle (Supporting Tiana Honey Watson Fund).
Wild Ground was a surprise 20-1 winner in the Wellpool Building And Maintenance Handicap Chase (Supporting The Tiana Honey Watson Fund) for jockey James Best and trainer Kevin Bishop and Aureate (8-1) finally got off the mark at the 18th attempt over timber in the 3663 First For Food Handicap Hurdle.