ROBERT Stephens can now call himself a National-winning trainer, having sent The Caller up to Sedgefield to take the Durham National on Sunday, with its first prize of £18,768.

It was a proper stamina test, run on soft ground over three miles five furlongs. There were 24 fences to be jumped, even more than in the Welsh equivalent. The horse had shown fair form over hurdles with Warren Greatrex in 2017, but didn’t set the point-to-point world alight after that.

When he joined Stephens this summer a visor was fitted and he started doing much better, finishing placed in his first three races for the yard. In hindsight, it was significant that one of them was all the way up at Sedgefield. With ten stone one to carry on Sunday and Sean Bowen booked for his first ride for Stephens, this looks like a plan that came off.

David Probert reached his century for the calendar year when riding the winner of the last race at Brighton on Thursday.

One of his rivals went clear in the final furlong and a half, but the uphill finish at the seaside track has caught out countless horses whose effort was made too soon. Probert saved his mount, Michael’s Dream, for a late run, and he stormed into the lead inside the last 75 yards.

The Bargoed-born jockey made it 101 the next day on a 40/1 shot. Once again patience paid off, as the pace of this race was fast from the outset. Probert sat at the back, biding his time until making a late run and hitting the front in similar style to his Brighton win.

The Evan Williams-trained Silver Streak, who was third in the Champion Hurdle, made a pleasing reappearance at Kempton on Sunday. His main market rival was already beaten when coming down at the last. This easy win sets him on course for some loftier targets in the rest of 2019.

Three Welsh-trained winners at Ffos Las’ Welsh Champion Hurdle meeting included Dai Burchell’s King Alfonso in a claiming chase. The ten-year-old does well at this level and registered his sixth success in 14 months. Burchell said that after a busy summer he might be rested until next spring. However, King Alfonso is in such good form it’s possible the trainer could think again and let him take up his entry at Worcester on Wednesday, where he could be up against Field Exhibition, one half of a double for Grace Harris at Hereford last week.

David Evans doesn’t have many stayers in his yard, and Risk Mitigation’s victory at Southwell on Monday over a mile and a half was the furthest any of his horses have won at this year. This three-year-old was breaking his duck on the testing Fibresand surface in defiance of his pedigree, which suggested a mile would be his best trip.

Chepstow’s next meeting, on Tuesday, the 29th, is another where horses with potential could begin their winter campaigns. Thistlecrack made his chasing debut there in 2016.

Chepstow and Ffos Las are launching a Racing Club this month and will have a horse in training with Tim Vaughan for six months. The five-year-old gelding, Baboin, has won and been placed before. The club is aimed at anyone who would like to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership at a competitive introductory price. The package includes stable visits, owners’ badges when the horse runs and much more. Each share, which covers the period from November to April, is £495.