There are very occasional days in the life of a trainer when things go to plan. Most of the professional day is spent problem-solving in man management, horse management, travel and admin. But it's in days like yesterday that reaffirm every trainer's recognition of why they undertake the work they do.
Ben Pauling, not best known as a trainer of summer jumpers, is having an excellent summer which will repay just some of the substantial investment in new premises he's made at Naunton Downs. And yesterday, he enjoyed a cross - card treble, with two winners at Bangor and another at Worcester.
Quite how race planners saw fit to stage 3 Jumps fixtures on a single summer's day is a discussion for another day, but remarkably, field sizes held up quite well in the circumstances.
First up was Worcester, where entries in the opening Novices chase had withdrawn to leave a match between Laura Morgan's odds - on favourite The Vollan, and Imperial Knight, a winner over hurdles enjoying a debut over fences. If there were an easier entry to fencing, we've yet to see it as Pauling's charge let The Vollan make the running until quickening after the last under Kielan Woods and winnning by 1 1/2l. The winner won't have learnt much abouyt racing from the experience, truth be told. He may not find it so straightforward in a larger field, but then again, large fields are also a rarity in novice chases nowadays.
Ninety miles to the north-west, Bangor is the hunting ground for Donald McCain, who is a runaway leading trainer here and enjoyed a four - timer at the previous fixture. He kept Pauling company in enjoying a double too at this track near the River Dee. Eight year old Northern Bound has proved excellent value for owner Emma Kendall, winning eight times under Rules, and number eight barely required him to get out of breath in a 9l victory over Fat Sam in the 0-130 handicap chase over 2m4f. Northern Bound has shown his best form on good ground, here with good to soft patches, so presumably Bangor has enjoyed a little more rain than Gloucestershire recently.
Just over an hour later, neither Pauling's nor One Touch's heartbeat need have exerted itself overly in the second leg of the Bangor double, when the eight year old Point-to-Point graduate from Fran and Charlie Poste's yard beat the nearest of his seven rivals by a comfortable 11l in the 2m 3f Nightingale House Hospice Charity Handicap Hurdle.
Pauling's golden summer has generated 23 winners to date and £158,000 in prize money, leaving him in 10th position in the Trainers' Championship. Whilst small fry during the summer makes this largely irrelevant, skewed as it can be by a single big Saturday winner, it's an indication of intent over the next few months. Expect this form to continue as the autumn horses start coming out.
It's just another indication of the powerhouse that is Gloucestershire in the National Hunt game. Bring it on.