CHEPSTOW’S Jump Season Opener benefited from enough rain falling in the run-up to the meeting to leave the going close to ideal – good, good to soft in places on Saturday, and slightly softer on Sunday after a damp morning.

Paul Nicholls wound up with four winners over the two days and his principal jockey Harry Cobden rode five, proving he is back in the groove after more than three months off injured.

The first day began with the Legends charity race, for former jump jockeys. This was in aid of the Bob Champion Cancer Trust, which has raised almost £15 million over the years.

The veterans produced a fine finish between them. Midnight Chill, ridden by Rodney Farrant, came out on top. Farrant recalled that he rode his first winner here in 1989, so it was fitting that what will probably be his last was here too.

The big race was the Silver Trophy. Almost all of the 18 runners had a chance turning into the straight, but it was a 25/1 shot, Garo De Juilley, who joined the leaders at the fourth last and went ahead at the next. Paddy Brennan pinched a useful lead on him, and a good jump at the final flight sealed victory. The successful trainer, Sophie Leech, is based only 20 miles from the track at Elton in Gloucestershire. The winner had been bought out of Paul Nicholls’ stable for just £8,000 in May.

Sunday’s highlight, the Persian War Novices Hurdle, was dominated by the front-running Double Treasure, who was bowling along 10 lengths clear for a while. In the home straight Secret Investor was the only one who could muster a challenge and with the help of a patient ride by Harry Cobden he hit the front approaching the last flight and went on to win by two lengths, giving the Nicholls yard its fifth success in the race in eleven years.

Winners who should go into the notebooks include Nicholls’ McFabulous, who took the bumper; Nicky Henderson’s novice hurdler Pym, and Jane Williams’ Montestrel, who won the juvenile hurdle.

There’s more good racing on Saturday at Ffos Las, whose fixture is one of its best of the year. The highlight is the Welsh Champion Hurdle, sponsored by the Dunraven Group.

Heading the entries is that perennial favourite The New One, the winner of 20 of his 38 races. He’s ten years old now, but he has won first time out in all of the seven seasons he’s been racing and this weekend he may well make it eight.

Local trainers had a quiet time of it last week. Their main hope at Chepstow, Push The Tempo, was unable to make it four wins in a row for his handler Robert Stephens in the Persian War. He will either have to take his chance in handicaps or go over fences. He won a maiden point-to-point earlier this year, but that was after a series of non-completions and Stephens will need to be sure his jumping over the bigger obstacles has improved.

The only Welsh-trained winner at the meeting was Still Believing, from South Glamorgan trainer Evan Williams’ yard. She landed a fairly modest mares-only handicap chase.