A double at Huntingdon has kept Harry Cobden well in contention at the top the Jump Jockeys’ Championship.
The 22-year-old took his tally for the season up to 50 aboard five-year-old Wild Max in the Michelmas Hurdle, a victory that came after he had partnered Master Tommytucker to success one race earlier.
And the Somerset jockey admitted he has one eye on a sustained title challenge this year, after moving to within one win of leader Brian Hughes.
He said: “I always try and aim to ride 50 winners by January so to get 50 by November is pretty good.
“I’m just looking forward to the rest of the season. Hopefully I can stay in one piece and keep on rolling.
“If we get March out of the way and I’m still there then it will be all guns blazing.
“This year is different to any others, because those that normally get 100 winners on the board early haven’t, so this season is a good one to give the title a go.”
Both of Cobden’s winners came on Paul Nicholls-trained mounts, with the successes half of his final tally from the meeting.
Victory for the 2-1 favourite, who obliged by a neck, was compensation for defeat on last month’s seasonal return at Cheltenham, where he suffered interference at a crucial stage when still holding every chance.
Nicholls’ assistant Harry Derham said: “I was little nervous he was doing a fraction too much. He has almost travelled too well, because he has a lot of pace.
“He enjoys a flat track, and all of his wins have come on them. I’d like to think the better the race, the faster they go, the more he will relax.”
Master Tommytucker win in the Intermediate Chase allowed him to get his chequered career over fences back on track.
Having fallen in three of his previous five starts over fences, the lightly-raced nine-year-old put in an immaculate display of jumping to defeat his sole rival Precious Cargo by 12 lengths.
Derham said: “He didn’t have to have too much of a hard race there, which was nice. There is no doubt the engine is there. It was just a case of getting rid of those jumping errors.
“He will go to Haydock now, because there is a two-and-a-half-mile graduation chase there on Betfair Chase day, and it is worth quite a bit.”
Elsewhere on the card there was a win for the Emma Lavelle-trained Dollnamix struck for the first time at the 16th attempt in division two of the Download The tote App Handicap Hurdle.
Eileendover, a 28-1 shot, charged to comprehensive 29-length winner on her debut in Ten To Follow “Junior” Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.
Winning trainer Pam Sly said: “She worked with one of my other useful ones Takeit Easy the other day, and I thought ‘that will do’.
“She was supposed to run on the flat but had problems with the stalls, but it’s a good job I didn’t go down that route now.”