Stone smashes rivals at Ludlow
Stonethrower returned to the winner's enclosure on just his second run after a lengthy absence through injury when scoring at Ludlow.
The Tim Vaughan-trained nine-year-old shaped with encouragement on his comeback when second in a hunter chase four weeks earlier following a tendon problem and went one better in game fashion.
Pushed into the lead after five out by the stable's 10lb claiming conditional Alan Johns, Stonethrower (16/1) shrugged off Divine Intavention by three and a quarter lengths.
"He's been super consistent for us all his life," said Vaughan.
"He just got injured about 18 months ago and had tendon trouble. He came back in a hunter chase and improved a lot for that. On his old form he looked well-in.
"Alan's a 10lb claimer but has ridden plenty of winners in point-to-points so he's had plenty of experience."
Vaughan had earlier struck with French import Lamool (10/1), ridden by Michael Byrne, who denied Speed Master by a length and a quarter in the Alfa Aggregates Products Novices' Limited Handicap Chase.
"We think he's a nice horse and he wants a cut in the ground, so I think he might just have one run or two then he'll go away for a summer at grass," said the Vale of Glamorgan handler.
"We'll probably go novice hurdling with him next year. We'll see until we reach his mark over fences first."
It was a red-letter day for Vaughan as Liberty Court gave him an across-the-card treble by scoring at Taunton.
Jockey Dave Crosse made a fairytale return on his first ride back after breaking three ribs two weeks ago when steering 33/1 shot Castlemorris King to a head call over Springinherstep in the EFG Harris Allday Stockbrokers Handicap Hurdle.
"Dave's of the opinion he's going to get two and a half miles and hopefully we can progress with him," said trainer Brian Barr.
"Hopefully the handicapper will not be too harsh on him and we can go forward."
Saint Jerome (8/13 favourite) spreadeagled the opposition as he swept to an all-the-way win in the Ludlow Racing Partnership Novices' Hurdle.
Jamie Osborne's charge completed a hat-trick over jumps with a 22-length romp under Robert Thornton.
"When we decided to send him over hurdles I was a little dubious as to whether he'd get the trip, but his jumping helps him," Osborne told Racing UK.
"He's a real enthusiast, so it's best to let him bowl away.
"Choc (Robert Thornton, jockey) thinks maybe we ought to have a go at the Swinton (at Haydock) and catch the bottom of the handicap there."
Jumping was the name of the game as Sam Twiston-Davies steered Kim Bailey's Magic Money (100/30) to victory over Pandy in the Robert Holden Ltd Mares' Novices' Hurdle.
The Evan Williams-trained Hold Court (3-1 joint-favourite) staved off Speedy Tunes to win at the track for a fourth time in the Ludlow Food Centre Handicap Hurdle under Paul Moloney.
A stewards' inquiry was called but the placings remained unaltered.
Rockiteer (9/4 favourite) registered his third course success in the Abberley Hall Old Pupils Association Open Hunters' Chase for trainer Henry Daly and amateur rider Jane Williams.