TOWCESTER RACES: Bridgwater delight as Edgar claims victory

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The form of horses trained by David Bridgwater looks set to take an upswing after a quiet start to the winter and Edgar (8/1) went some way to proving the point by landing the 2m conditional jockeys’ handicap chase in heavy conditions under Jake Hodson.

“What is it they say... always back the outside of three... or is it four?” remarked Bridgwater with a smile on his face after the son of Big Shuffle had gradually worn down Deise Vu during the closing stages to score by three quarters of a length.

Bridgwater, based near Stow-on- the-Wold, is best known in these parts for training now retired The Giant Bolster for Northampton businessman Simon Hunt in whose colours Golan Dancer had been second at Leicester the previous day.

Bridgwater said: “Edgar was only a cheap horse but has now won two on the Flat and two over fences so he is versatile.”

He added: “I was worried about the ground but it was a bad race and we had to take a punt. My horses have not been right but he won over 1m 6f on the Flat so two miles on this ground was ideal.”

Rain had made conditions testing and Towcester races again on February 15 so the turnaround will need to be sharp but one man who will remember the day is

Towcester-based starter Robbie Supple who celebrated by working on his 50th birthday.

As a jockey, Supple was placed in two Grand Nationals but no doubt a thought crossed his mind that Nick The Brief, the horse on which he partnered to victory in the second of two Irish Hennessy Gold Cups would have won a Cheltenham version in these conditions.

Trainer Fergal O’Brien is top dog at Towcester this season and the well backed Socksy (11/8 fav) added to the double he registered here on November 24 and ensured the Naunton handler is now enjoying his best ever season after victory in the 2m 3f mares’ novices’ hurdle.

A glance at the long distance traveller list would have proved informative and profitable as both What A Diva (6/1) and Magical Man (8/1) scored for Welsh trainers Pete Bowen and Debra Hamer respectively.

What A Diva took the 3m handicap hurdle under trainer’s son Sean Bowen while Magical Man was ridden to a six length success by Trevor Whelan in the 3m Home Of The Greyhound Derby July 1 Handicap Chase.

The day had almost begun with an upset in the 1m 7 1/2f NH Novices’ Hurdle but the Nigel Twiston-Davies- trained Count Meribel blundered at the last flight which enabled 30/100 favourite Top Ville Ben to win for trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Jeremiah McGrath.

Present Times (6/1) won the concluding 2m 3f Grimscote Handicap Hurdle for Evan Williams and Adam Wedge.