Family affair as Mile House scores at Fontwell

Tom O'Brien
Tom O'Brien
Megan Nicholls (left of picture) was the Silk Series trophy winner last year / Picture by Dan

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Tom O’Brien gave his family plenty to cheer at Fontwell on Saturday.

The Irish jockey rode Mile House to glory in the Equiniti Supporting Queen Alexandra Hospital Home Novices’ Hurdle on the second day of the track’s Forces Festival.

The Rob Stephens-trained six-year-old son of Close Conflict saw off odds-on favourite Lily Waugh by six lengths to triumph at 3/1.

And O’Brien revealed he had a special connection with the gelding.

He said: ‘My auntie and uncle in Ireland sold him to Rob. He won a point over there and my cousin rode him that day.

‘He is quite smart and he jumps really well.

‘He is probably better on a bigger track because he has loads of scope.

‘And he will be better for a fence as well.’

The victory saw Mile House stretch his record to three wins from four races under rules – the sole defeat coming when he was pulled up at Ffos Las in August.

And while he will soon need a rest, Stephens is keen to press on.

‘We are very pleased,’ said the Newport trainer.

‘He has now won a nice race with a penalty.

‘He will have another run, at least, maybe a couple.

‘Then he will have a break after that because he was point-to-pointing before we had him.

‘But we will definitely look for another nice race.’

After Mile House’s win, Comeonginger took the Clancy Docwra Supporting Royal Air Force Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase for trainer Chris Gordon at 11/4.

Harry Fry and Noel Fehily then teamed up to score with 7/4-favourite Henryville in the Morrison Utility Services Supporting The Army Handicap Hurdle.

The Nephew justified 11/4-favouritism in the MTS Cleaning Services Supporting Royal Navy Handicap Chase before Aaly delivered a 33/1 shock in the Costain-MWH JV Commemorating Royal Sussex Regiment Handicap Hurdle.

Osmosia completed a double for Gordon with a 5/2 success in the BTU Commemorating Royal Army Medical Corps Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase and Fountains Blossom grabbed a 2/1 win in the bumper finale.