RUBY Walsh enjoyed a short-priced double at Taunton, but it was another Irish jockey who stole the headlines. Cork native Aidan Coleman has been having a terrific season with the help of his retained stable of Venetia Williams and it continued at the Somerset track.
Coleman and Williams heaped the pain on the bookmakers by providing three of the seven winning favourites. There was an element of fortune for Coleman about their first winner as Emperor's Choice (6/4 favourite) edged out Shuil Royale and Guess Again after a three-way photo-finish to the staying novice chase.
"When I jumped the second-last I thought I'd win, but I got my reins in a muddle. Fair play to the horse, he got the job done," said Coleman, who was given a two-day ban for over-use of the whip.
Wide-margin scorers were the order of the day and second for the team was Bennys Mist as the 5/4 favourite easily took the staying handicap chase despite clambering over the final fence.
"That's our 50th winner," Williams said. "I ended in the 50s last season, but we got there this fast a couple of seasons some time ago. "We've got a large pool of novice chasers this year, and a lot of them have proved better chasers than hurdlers."
The treble was completed by 4/6 market leader Jupiter Rex in the closing handicap hurdle. Walsh inflicted further damage, dropping in to test two young hopefuls from the Paul Nicholls academy, which both won.
Sound Investment (5/6) was first to make his mark, going a little way towards living up to his name with a 12-length victory in the opening maiden hurdle.
Saphir Du Rheu was arguably even more impressive than his stablemate, despite his winning margin being a length shorter in the novices' hurdle.
Tony McCoy was also on the mark for JP McManus as Cantlow justified odds of 4/9 with a 14-length success in the two-mile, three furlong novice chase.
The pattern of favourites winning by double-figure margins was completed by 3/1 shot Extremely So, ridden by James Davies and trained by Chris Down.