Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Costello Hits Back at Critics with Fine Win

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Costello Hits Back at Critics with Fine Win

Article excerpt

Byline: By Doug Moscrop

Talented conditional jockey Dougie Costello came in for some criticism when he was unseated after Prince Of Slane had blundered at the first fence in a chase at Catterick in December.

But Darlington-based Costello has had the last laugh. He made amends next time on the same horse on his return to the track and then rubbed it in with his critics when capturing the Weatherbys Bank North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick yesterday to add to the Durham version he won at Sedgefield last May.

"He got some flak when he came off the horse that day, but he is a good lad and has ridden a perfect race on him today," said Bill Haigh, assistant to Melsonby trainer Alan Swinbank.

Prince Of Slane kept creeping up towards the leaders and was breathing down their necks as they turned for home. He jumped into the lead from top weight Gunther McBride at the second last and stayed on strongly to beat Harlov by three and a half lengths.

"The trainer keeps talking about the Scottish National but there are plenty of other races for him," said Haigh. "He is improving all the time and people forget he is still a novice. His jumping is also improving and four miles will not be a problem for him."

Michael Smith, who trains four horses under permit at Kirkheaton, near Ponteland, was upset when Monty's Quest was pulled up in the marathon. The 11-year-old broke down and was taken home but is unlikely to race again.

Smith, who had a winner at the West Percy Point-To-Point with Web Master on Sunday, had a happier ending half an hour later when Texas Holdem landed the Watt Fences Racecourse Suppliers Handicap Hurdle. "I didn't back him as I was very upset about Monty's Quest in the previous event and this race was a bit of a blur to me," said Smith.

"Texas Holdem ran well in a decent race at Carlisle when the ground was a bit too testing for him. …

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