Mulholland makes journey to Sedgefield pay with The Young Master
Neil Mulholland left his Somerset stable at 5am and his six-hour drive to Sedgefield paid off with a winner.
Last Updated: 10/01/14 5:20pm
When the poor-jumping Jim Bob Jones could only muster second in one of the early events, he was relying on his recent Fakenham winner in the Horse Racing Free Bets At bookmakers.co.uk Handicap Hurdle, but there was never a reason to worry.
After bolting up in Norfolk on New Year's Day, the 15/8 favourite had more than two circuits of undulating countryside to trudge across here, but The Young Master was nursed through most of the race as they crawled for the first three miles.
In a sprint to the uphill finish, Conor Shoemark had the most left in the locker and quickened a length and a half away.
"He did it well, and that made the journey worthwhile," said Mulholland.
"He stays and he's genuine - I know he has cheekpieces on but he had them when he was younger as they helped him finish his races off and we've kept them on.
"My hand was forced a bit as he was due to go up 5lb from today. I guess we'll just see what the handicapper does."
The sheep grazing in the middle of the rural County Durham course will have been warmer than most of the spectators, so it was fairly appropriate Shane Byrne's latest winner came aboard a horse called Baltic Pathfinder (6/1).
The jockey took some time out of the saddle late last year to address a weight problem, but this was his third success from as many rides in 2014.
Trainer Sue Smith has proved a useful ally and Byrne was looking around for dangers well before the long run for the line in the No Deposit Free Bets With bookmakers.co.uk Handicap Chase.
Byrne said: "To be fair, the old horse deserved his chance and it all fell right today.
"I rode him over two and a half here on Boxing Day and it all happened too quick
for him. I've won too easily, really, but hopefully the handicapper will give him a chance to win another one.
"I've been back a couple of weeks and had a double at Catterick on New Year's Day, so it's going great."
Smith and husband Harvey are having a winter break in Spain but the yard continued to churn out the winners when Next Hight (15/8 favourite) galloped away in the Compare Bookies Free Bets With bookmakers.co.uk Novices' Handicap Hurdle.
"He's a bit of a character, but he's learning all the time," said jockey Jonathan England.