In-form Fergal O'Brien saddles double but cautions talk of reaching century
Fergal O'Brien thanked all involved for ensuring the two jumpers' bumpers cards went ahead at Lingfield and Newcastle after his excellent campaign continued by reaching 70 winners.
City Derby scythed through the field under Paddy Brennan in the opener at Lingfield before Becky The Boo followed up 20 minutes later at Newcastle in a flying start to the day for the trainer.
Both fixtures were hastily arranged after the cancellations of their planned jumps meetings due to waterlogging and O'Brien welcomed their addition in place of more missing race days.
"All credit to the BHA, Lingfield and Newcastle for getting these on," he said. "It's brilliant for the likes of City Derby, who likes better ground, to come out and race today."
Brennan suggested in his post-race interview with Sky Sports Racing that helping O'Brien reach a century of winners for the campaign was one of his targets, but O'Brien trod with more caution.
"Seventy winners is a phenomenal achievement by any standard at this time of the year, especially having missed three months of it.
"Seventy one is my next target and we'll go from there. If it happens great, if not we've still got to a great number."
Jacob wants bonus bumpers
Daryl Jacob led calls for more jumpers' bumpers meetings after riding Black Kalanisi to victory in an unusual race which featured two Royal Bond Novice Hurdle winners lining up against each other on the all-weather.
The winners of the 2017 and 2018 running of the Fairyhouse Grade 1, Mengli Khan and Quick Grabim, were both beaten by Jacob on the Joe Tuite-trained eight-year-old.
"I'd love for this time of the year to have one of these types of meetings once a week," Jacob told Sky Sports Racing.
"A lot of horses can't go on the deep ground and if you had a meeting like this once a week in January and February I think they'd be really well supported."