Tommy Dowson rode out his claim earlier this month and is now a fully fledged member of the weighing room.

The transition can often lead to problems but, in Tommy’s case, it appears to have been a spur to greater success with his name high in the headlines over the Christmas holiday with a series of winners for his boss Phil Kirby including Graded and Listed success on Top Ville Ben and Lady Buttons.

Tommy has a close association with the Cumbrian jumps scene from his amateur beginnings to his role as a conditional with Maurice Barnes. He has also ridden with conspicuous success for Low Row’s Jonathan Haynes.

It is though his link with the Kirby stable now housed near Catterick which has raised his reputation to a new level.

Tommy had the mount on Kirby’s potential chasing star Top Ville Ben in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle. But ,seeing daylight earlier than planned, the headstrong gelding gave his rider no option save to sit tight and hope that Top Ville Ben’s exhilarating jumping would see him home in front.

It very nearly did but in the event “the petrol” ran out landing over the last and Top Ville Ben was mugged close home by Takingrisks and Sean Quinlan.

This painful experience was not to be repeated in the Rowland Meyrick Chase on Boxing Day for which Top Ville Ben was sent off the 3/1 favourite. Settled in midfield, well covered up on a tight rein Top Ville Ben was not given his head until between the final two fences. He flew the last and extended clear on the run-in.

This was an impressive display by horse and rider who can now look forward to partnering the Kirby star at the highest level.

Publicity struck again for Dowson at Doncaster last Sunday. He substituted for the injured Adam Nicoll on Lady Buttons in the Listed Yorkshire Silver Vase and gave the mare a copybook ride, producing her to challenge the front-running La Bague Au Roi at the final fence before riding a stirring finish to foil the powerful late thrust of Happy Diva.

Tristan Davidson and George Bewley were the Cumbrian trainers to saddle winners on Boxing Day.

Tristan sent Baracalu on the long trip to Market Rasen but was rewarded for his efforts when his father’s free-running sort made virtually all the running to record a comfortable success. The win will have come as some compensation for Baracaju’s earlier defeat at Carlisle on his debut for the Irthington trainer. On that occasion Baracalu was an well-supported favourite and finished third.

At Market Rasen the Davidson winner was again sent off as market leader at 7/4 but had been dropped into a seller so the price was on the generous side. Baracalu did not return home, however, as he was claimed by Marjorie Fife for £6,000.

George Bewley was at Sedgefield where he had the satisfaction of watching Mah Mate Bob make his record three from three at the Durham course. Mah Mate Bob is owned by former trainer John Wade whose stables, close to Sedgefield are now occupied by Rebecca Menzies.

Jonathan Bewley kept Mah Mate Bob prominent throughout and the gelding stayed on resolutely over the last two fences. He is still on the upgrade.

The Christmas break was not a resounding success for Nicky Richards.

His Guitar Pete did not jump well enough out of the tacky ground at Wetherby and was well beaten in the Rowland Meyrick. Rubytwo was overturned at Kelso and Simply Ned was unable to win Leopardstown’s Grade 1 two-miler for the third time off the reel. The Greystoke veteran was far from discredited in fifth place.

Hopefully, Nicky Richards will be back in the winner’s circle after the 3m chase at Newcastle tomorrow. He has Glittering Love declared here with Brian Hughes booked for the ride.

Glittering Love fell at Newcastle on his seasonal reappearance a fortnight ago but he was closing on the leaders at the time and granted a clear round the Rooney’s consistent performer can regain the winning touch.

The Greystoke camp also have a number of unexposed youngsters pencilled in for Newcastle and a careful look at the overnight declarations is advised.

On a wider scale, Nick Alexander is back among the winners with daughter Lucy landing a splendid double on Clan Legend at Kelso and Ebony Jane at Haydock.

Stablemate Lake View Lad incidentally ran another sound race to be third in the Rowland Meyrick and is knocking loudly at the door.

Finally, it has been a quiet week for Brian Hughes but he went close at Haydock on The Con Man, and Donald MaCain’s well-handicapped hurdler should go better next time.