HAY-ON-WYE trainer Sheila Lewis was the toast of Hereford races on Tuesday as she scored a hat-trick of wins with Straw Fan Jack, Knight Commander and Cotton End all partnered by jockey Sean Quinlan, writes Graham Saveker

Straw Fan Jack started the winning machine, held under the current Covid-19 restrictions, with a win in the opening two mile three furlong novice hurdle where under jockey Sean Quinlan they stayed on the stronger to upset the odds-on favourite Celestial Force from the powerful Paul Nicolls yard by a length and three-quarters.

Half an hour later the combination of Lewis and Quinlan were back in the winners enclosure with the win of Knight Commander in the first division of the two mile five furlong Handicap hurdle, where after leading at the second last hurdle they came home easy winners by twelve lengths from fellow welsh challengers Easkey Lad and Arty Campbell in second and third places.

Quinlan was quick to pay tribute to the horses previous jockey Ben Jones for giving advice on how to get the best out of his partner whilst he gave a hint of further success saying of the trainer

“It’s surprising how much they improve when a stable is in form,” added jockey Quinlan.

The treble was completed later in the day with the win of Cotton End in the two mile three furlong Mares Handicap hurdle where Quinlan, full of confidence, seized the initiative at the third last hurdle and drove his mount clear to record an impressive fourteen length win over his rivals.

Sheila, who also runs a successful hair and beauty salon along with her training operation at Three Cocks near Brecon modestly and delightedly, explained that this was her first treble.

Richard Johnson is working hard at reclaiming his National Hunt jockeys from last season’s winner and current leader Brian Hughes and he clawed one back with the very impressive Neville’s Cross trained at Much Marcle by Tom Lacey.

Johnson had his mount at the rear of the seven runner field on the first circuit but once Johnson had asked the Lacey runner to assert approaching the final two flights they soon put daylight between them and their pursuers to score by a facile twenty lengths.