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Mulholland and Harris are toe to toe in winners again

Neil Mulholland and Milton Harris are matching each other winner for winner presently, as the National Hunt season stepped up a gear at Chepstow over the weekend.

When Chepstow's two day card had finished, no less than £400,000 had been distributed across winners and placed horses in the 14 races, and whilst this was predictably a benefit for Paul Nicholls and Philip Hobbs, who have long favoured this fixture to launch the opening salvoes of their autumn campaigns, Neil Mulholland was able to strike a blow with his most valuable winner of the season to date, in the £50,000 Native River Handicap Chase, with French-bred nine year old gelding Chirico Vallis. Evidently unfancied by owner J P McManus, this was a rare 16/1 winner in a series of much shorter priced winners.

On Tuesday, Mulholland and Harris were both spread across the two jumps fixtures at Hereford and Huntingdon, both staging their first fixtures of the autumn season. Each enjoyed a cross-card double. Mulholland scored at Hereford with 4/1 favourite Hidden Depths in a low grade handicap hurdle, whilst at Huntingdon, the progressive Peltwell maintained an unbeaten five winner record that stretches back to March of this year. Cleverly placed, his ostensible improvement is only 15lbs, and there may yet be more to come.

Meanwhile, also at Huntingdon, Milton Harris' Achy Breaky Heart was ridden out by conditional Michael Bastyan to win a moderate handicap chase by 4 1/2l, whilst back at Hereford, Presenting Yeats continued his excellent summer with a third handicap hurdle win, which ahs taken his official rating up 20lbs since June.

As if to show his versatility, Harris drew blood at Bath yesterday with 4 year old Super Superjack, 1/2l winner of the 2m 1f handicap on the flat.

In wider news yesterday, leading owner Trevor Hemmings died, aged 86. Given the quantum of horses that have been in his ownership over the years, there will be plenty of West Country owners and riders who have good reason to be grateful for the occasional dispersal from his many trainers. In a life well lived, Hemmings won many big races, including three Grand Nationals.

Hot on the heels of Andy Stewart last month, it feels somewhat like a changing of the guard.

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