LAMBOURN trainer Mark Pitman was quoted at his recent open day as saying he felt he had turned the corner after a disapointing last season which saw a meagre total of only seven winners and 30 seconds.

But at Hereford races he saw his first jumping winner for over four months when Designer Label won the Novices Handicap Chase.

Jumping to the front in the back straight for jockey Noel Fehily, Designer Label kept on strongly on his fencing debut to record an easy seven-length success in the three-mile one-furlong chase and should follow up this success.

Fellow Lambourn trainer Brendan Powell looked like he might put his bad luck behind him in the last race on the card until his The Hearty Joker fell at the second-last fence.

The fall left the veteran 12-year-old Benji, ridden by Leighton Aspell and trained by Roger Ingram, to take the honours in the two-mile three-furlong Basil Watkins Memorial Handicap Chase.

Ingram, former head lad to Frank Jordan, has many friends in the area, although these days he is better known for his flat runners.

The Richard Johnson ridden Cup Classique was all the rage before the cards Bumper race, being backed down from 6/1 to 7/2 following his unlucky fourth place in a previous Worcester race which saw his then rider Richard Young banned for riding an 'ill-judged' race.

Johnson was at his best aboard the temperamental four-year-old, conjuring a strong run to score by two lengths from runner-up Cansalrun, ironically ridden by Richard Young.

Sussex trainer Luke Dace kept up his good strike rate with the win of Wee Danny in the stayers hurdle. This was his 10th winner from 23 runners. The ex-Irish Wee Danny was always moving smoothly for his conditional rider Derek Laverty, scoring by a length and a half from Excellent Vibes and lowering the course record by three seconds into the bargain.