Monday November 20

Despite sending out nine winners in the last eight weeks, Alan has endured no fewer than 42 silver and bronze medals coming his way during that period, so it was only just that the ultra-consistent Elgin should bag the £100,000 Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham yesterday.

A dry day followed that almighty soaking on Saturday, which meant that conditions underfoot were worse – gluey and reminiscent of a suet pudding – but Wayne Hutchinson took the scenic route on Elgin, plotting a wide course to find the best of the ground, and Elite Racing Club’s home-bred improver dug deep and battled on bravely all the way up the famous Prestbury Park climb to the winning post.

Alan, who was equally delighted about the performance of William H Bonney (fifth) – “he travelled even better than Elgin but being his first race of the season he did not quite get home in the conditions” – conceded that he was taking a chance in running Elgin just 15 days after his win at Ascot.

He said:”We were going to wait for the big handicap back at Ascot in December, but Elgin came out of that race so well that we opted to take our chance. He’s a proper horse and my only worry was the ground, but he got through it well. After hitting the bar so often recently, it was nice to get back in the winner’s circle, and there’s no better place to celebrate a winner.”

Hutchinson said:”Plenty of jockeys wanted the outside, but I managed to get there first and hold my position, though we had a bit of a torrid time out there. Elgin was a good novice last year and he is so honest, and hopefully, there might be more to come. All credit to the boss and the team at home – they do all the hard work, I’m just doing the steering!”