JOCKEY Leighton Aspell was in a winning mood at Stratford Racecourse’s opening fixture of the 2017 season as he secured two impressive victories.
The former Grand National-winning rider first steered Tara Bridge to success in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase before pushing out HowLongIsAFoot to a 28-length win in the David Cowgill Memorial Handicap Chase.
With more than £7,000 on offer, Tara Bridge was one of just two finishers in the afternoon’s second race as Brother Bennett and Mr Cardle unseated at the first and second fences respectively.
It was left to Tara Bridge and Lucky Jim to contest the remainder of the race and patience proved to be the key to success for Aspell as Tara Bridge ran out a six-length winner.
Aspell later partnered HowLongIsAFoot to an impressive 28-length win ahead of Azert De Coeur.
The Chris Gordon-trained runner stretched his rivals from the start as three of his five competitors were forced to pull up on ground which rode soft.
It was a return to form for the impressive eight-year-old, who had not won on course since November 2015 prior to his Stratford success.
Also in the winners’ enclosure were Warren Greatrex and Harry Bannister, who teamed up with Attest in the opening race.
It was the four-year-old’s first win following several disappointing performances at Ffos Las, Doncaster and Newbury.
Favourite backers were in luck during the third race as Wayne Hutchinson guided Midnight Maestro to a four-length win.
Arthur’s Secret bagged the Novices’ Hunters’ Chase while Clondaw Castle rounded off the opening day by winning the National Hunt Flat race for Tom George.
Stratford’s next race is on Saturday. Visit www.stratfordracecourse.net for more information and tickets.