High Bridge makes all the running


High Bridge (Ben Pauling/Mr Alex Ferguson, 11st 3lb) justified 9/4 favouritism in the Ladbrokes Intermediate Handicap Hurdle to win by a length and a quarter. The winner runs in the colours of his Margaret Ferguson, mother of his former trainer John Ferguson, while the winning jockey is her grandson.


The six-year-old made all the running to score by a length and a quarter from Charli Parcs (Nicky Henderson/Noel Fehily, 11st 10lb, 4/1) with Poppy Kay (Philip Hobbs/Richard Johnson, 11st, 5/1) another three-quarters of length in arrears.


Ben Pauling said: "It was a brilliant ride from Alex because there was absolutely no pace. We had no interest in being in front to be honest but I said to Alex that he might have to bob away. High Bridge is such a relaxed horse that he didn't do a tap in front and I was just terrified that he would be a sitting duck.


"They have finished like it was a slow race - all on top of each other - but he has repelled them when he needed to. Alex is a young lad who is going so well and it is great for him, John and everyone else.


"High Bridge will stay every yard of two miles and is good in this ground as well. He could be quite useful and we might have to come out of handicaps at some point.


"I am not one for stats, but he's won off 145 today so we will have to see. He had been creeping up the weights due to what Elgin has done so it is good to see him win and I am thrilled for Alex and John. The Betfair Hurdle back here in February could be an option but we will enjoy today first.


"Willoughby Court is spot on after his win here yesterday - there is not a bother on him."


Alex Ferguson added: "There wasn't much pace on and the overall idea wasn't to make it but, if someone had gone on, they probably would have gone too steady. It all worked out OK. High Bridge was nice and relaxed out in front and I am delighted with his run. He has done nothing wrong and loves it here.


"I get a huge amount of support from Ben and everyone in the yard at home - it's a great place to be and I am a very happy and lucky boy. Ben and I get on very well and he has been very good to me over the past year and a half. It's a great place to be and a huge team effort from everyone.


"It's huge for me. I am still an amateur and delighted with the way things are going. Turning conditional is the next step for me and I am taking nice and steady. I am not rushing but you have to take that next step at some point."