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Bradley Gibbs double upstaged by first winner for 16 year old Freddie Keighley at Didmarton

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What a difference seven days can make! Just  over a week ago Didmarton was abandoned with the course cloaked in snow but on Saturday there were no similar problems and the rescheduled Duke Of Beaufort's meeting went ahead without a hitch, writes Andrew King.
And the Bradley Gibbs team limbered up for a big week at Cheltenham with his stable star Premier Magic attempting a repeat success in the St James's Place Festival Challenge Cup on Friday following a short-priced double courtesy of victories for Crocodile Lounge and Fier Jaguen.
After opening at 4-7, Crocodile Lounge was well backed into 1-3 favourite for the Restricted contest and had no problems in justifying that support when making much of the running and seeing off Daisy Yeats by 15 lengths.
Co-owner Adrian Simpson commented: "He is only five years old and that was just his fourth race in total. We hope he is a nice horse for the future and, with that in mind, we will play it softly, softly with him this term and take it step by step."
Crocodile Lounge 090324
Gibbs employed similar tactics aboard Fier Jaguen in the Mixed Open and the pair eventually pulled clear of their only serious rival, Tara Storm, from the home bend for a relatively comfortable verdict.
However, Gibbs expressed himself a shade disappointed by the result, saying: "I am not sure Fier Jaguen was at his very best there for whatever reason but he has won well and there are not really any solid plans for him in the short term."
Of Premier Magic, the rider/trainer was much more upbeat and said: "We are very happy with the horse ahead of Friday's race but he has obviously got no easy task in as it's always so competitive. However he has done everything we have asked of him in his build up and he had an away-day at Newmarket last week where he pleased us. He goes to Cheltenham in good form and hopefully can repeat last year's victory."

Ready steady Freddie

Whereas Gibbs maybe approaching the twilight of his career in the saddle, the future can only beckon for teenager Freddie  Keighley after he partnered his first ever winner when Sametegal took the honours in the Riders Conditions race.
Keighley,16, the son of licenced trainer Martin, was understandably over the moon with the success and said: " My father told me to bounce the horse and make the running and the plan worked to perfection. I spent a week's work experience at Paul Nicholls' yard recently which was an eye-opener and when I left he kindly gave me Sametegal as a leaving gift - so here we are and I have to thank Mr Nicholls for this win."
Sametegal 090324

Perfect intro

Ihandaya made the best possible start for new trainer Nicky Sheppard in the Conditions contest with a spring-heeled round of jumping that resulted in a authoritative call over What A Glance.
The six-year-old's owner Clive Hitchings said: "He looked fantastic in the paddock beforehand and transferred those looks to the course where Natalie (Parker, jockey) has given him a great ride and I couldn't be more pleased. I understand the winning time was very good so that bodes well but, as far as any future plans maybe concerned, I will leave all that to Nicky and her team."

Patience is a virtue

The Hannah Lewis-trained Queenhill finally managed to get her head in front  after coming out on top following a prolonged duel with favourite Money From America in the closing stages of the concluding Maiden.
It proved a poignant moment for owner Mervyn Jones as he also bred the mare and he confided: "I have to admit it's an emotional moment for small owner/breeders like myself as I bred her, raced her and have to be very patient with her. She has always shown us there was a race in her and it was a matter of finding the right one. The door finally opened there but from where I was watching it was difficult to tell whether she had got up, so the judge's announcement proved a welcome relief."


Glory for Gloria

Fama Et Gloria proved the answer to the Members' race despite trying to throw it away when idling badly in front at the final fence. He rallied on the run-in to see off the challenge of Miltown Bridge by three lengths.
Star performance
Crocodile Lounge gave the distinct impression he is a smart horse in the making and seems certain to build on his victory.

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