A SECOND-PLACE finish in the Hunters’ Chase at Cartmel Races gave Flookburgh racehorse owner Jamie Latham a major boost as his partner bids to ignite her point-to-point career.

Trained by Gemma Walton, Forge Valley – with Tom Greenwood in the saddle – romped home in second ahead of Drom and bookies’ favourite Torn Asunder as Dika claimed first position.

But having surprised in races during the build up to Cartmel, Latham insists this was Forge Valley’s finest performance to date and one which suggests he may well be a shrewd investment.

“We were absolutely ecstatic with second, over the moon in fact,” he said.

“He was running well until he hit the third last and then hit the final fence which knocked the stuffing out of him slightly.

“We were certainly the underdogs in the race but I noticed he was very well gambled on the day, I think all the locals must have supported him. He opened up at 50-1 while his start price was 16.

“We only paid £500 for him yet he beat the favourite which cost £16,000 at the start of the season – it goes to show money cannot always buy success.”

The ten-year-old bay gelding was bought last August as Latham and Walton – who learnt her trade at James Moffatt’s Pit Farm Stables – embarked on their joint new venture.

And with a major hurdle now cleared, Latham has a firm focus on tasting victory in the coming months, crucial to propel Walton’s training career in the right direction.

“It was a big help finishing second as that’s one of the criteria, to get a placed horse in a Hunters’ Chase,” he added.

“So in many ways that’s the hard part completed. If we can get a win or two at the point-to-points next year, that’s it done, we can apply for a permit and be on our way.

“That’s the aim now so Gemma can apply for a licence to train all year round.”