LOCAL trainers were to the fore at Countryside raceday at Hereford last week with wins for Steve Flook and Kerry Lee.

Shobdon trainer Flook, has switched from his original focus upon point to point and hunter chases in recent years and now operates a truly dual-purpose yard with flat horses amongst his string but it was the two mile chaser Centreofexcellence who took the honours in the two mile handicap chase.

In the hands of jockey Max Kendrick, Centreofexcellence led from the outset and given a soft lead by the rest of the field was able to dictate the pace accordingly and so despite challengers looming over the final two fences they had enough in reserve to score by three quarters of a length from runner- up Overawed.

Flook said: “I’ve got ten in at the moment and it doesn’t really pay, but people are paying me to do what I love."

Kerry Lee has had a quiet start to the season due to the lack of soft ground for her string of horses but she was back in the winners enclosure with the win of Destined to Sine in the opening two mile three furlong handicap hurdle.

Partnered by jockey Sam Twiston-Davies after his participation in the Countryside raceday ‘welly wanging’ competition, Destined to Shine was held up in mid –division early, as his jockey had planned re-race and they made ground steadily on the rain softened ground to lead approaching the second last hurdle.

Lee said: “We have had 40 runners so far whilst this time last year it would be about one hundred, but I’m not worried about having winners in August and September although I have to admit I would have like more runners.

"You have to take the ups with the downs but, fingers crossed the horses have turned the corner and hopefully we can have a few more winners now."

The Paul Nicolls trained Danny Whizzbang had been an expensive 115,000 Euro purchase and in the hands of stable jockey Harry Cobden the highly regarded five-year-old plugged on gamely in the extended three mile Maiden hurdle to hold the persistent Mastercard and Richard Johnson by three-quarters of a length.

The winner looked suitably tired after winning over the trip in the softened ground and would need to recover before his next run but connections afterwards were delighted by the performance of the Getaway gelding and stressed that his future lay over fences.