Mark Pitman hits the headlines again at Taunton
Last Updated: 14/01/16 2:43pm
A review of the action from Taunton on Wednesday, where Mark Pitman's return to the training ranks saw him score again.
Mark Pitman is continuing to make a splash in his second coming as a trainer and Stop The Press gave him a fulfilling win at Taunton.
A Gold Cup-winning jockey, Pitman sent out Monsignor to win at two successive Cheltenham Festivals and won the Hennessy Gold Cup with Ever Blessed in his first stint with a licence, but this time he is much more low-key.
Training from Weathercock House in Lambourn once again for Monsignor's owner Malcolm Denmark, he is only looking after a small string but was celebrating his fourth win of the season.
Sent off at 6/1 in the second division of the Broadway & Horton Cricket Club "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle, Stop The Press held off odds-on favourite Grand Introduction by three-quarters of a length under Denis O'Regan.
"I'm delighted, he's had his issues and it's down to the team, we work hard with what we've got so to get a win is great," said Pitman.
"I think it was a poor race, I've got to say, they went no gallop but I knew he was in good form.
"I didn't know about the ground, but Denis said he handled it well."
He added: "We've only got seven that can run and he's the third one that's won.
"We're a long way from the Monsignors and Ever Blesseds of this world, but you get an immense amount of pleasure out of days like this.
"It was the Christmas before last Malcolm asked me to go back into Weathercock House.
"At the moment I just train for Malcolm, I was his first trainer about 20 years ago and I've always found him great to deal with.
"Malcolm wants to be back in the big time but I've only had my licence back a few months so we're just tipping away at the moment."
The feature Bathwick Tyres Handicap Chase over nearly three miles in very testing ground was not for the faint hearted and Evan Williams' Wychwoods Brook saw out the extreme test best.
Sent off at 11/2, the 2014 Peter Marsh Chase winner took advantage of a falling handicap mark, holding off top weight Easter Day by half a length.
Despite a mistake at the last, Adam Wedge was able to keep the revs up.
"He loses nothing, he's a big brute of a horse and he just kept going," said Wedge on At The Races.
"It's sticky ground and you need a tough horse to get through it.
"He disappointed us last year but he's won a Peter Marsh so the class is there."
Dan Skelton was a little quiet over the festive period but Churchtown Champ (11/2) got him back in the winning groove in the Somerset Chamber of Commerce Maiden Hurdle.
Jockey Harry Skelton said: "We had a bit of a scare at the last, but it's hard work in the ground. I didn't want to sit up and lose my momentum.
"He travelled great. He'd won a point-to-point and he's by Robin Des Champs, so the right signs are there.
"He been beaten in a bumper and maiden hurdle, but Dan took a chance on him. It might not be a strong race, but he did it well."
Aidan Coleman had to be strong on Fionn Mac Cul (11/2) in the first division of the novice hurdle.
The Venetia Williams-trained five-year-old showed little on his Rules debut at Aintree in November, but beat the odds-on Rolling Dylan by a nose.
Coleman said: "My lad was just idling and I'd have been annoyed if we got beat.
"I wasn't sure if we'd won, there's always some doubt."
The Geoffrey Bosley "Tally Ho" Open Hunters' Chase, the first contest of its type this season, went the way of Dark Lover (9/1), now with Jamie Snowden and ridden by Paige Fuller.
Rated as high as 150 in his days with Paul Nicholls, he was having his first run since April 2014 and the big hunter chases at Cheltenham and Aintree are now on his agenda.