National Hunt racing returned to Hexham on extremely testing ground last Thursday March 14 following the course's traditional three month winter break, and it proved to be a rewarding afternoon for Scottish trainers Nick Alexander, Stuart Coltherd and Lucinda Russell who all saddled a winner.

After finishing third on Lucinda Russell's Giovinco in the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase at Cheltenham the previous day, Stephen Mulqueen steered Dollar Collar to victory for the same stable in the opening 2m Betting.Bet Betting Maiden Hurdle Race.

Minehead raider Phantomofthepoints (Conor O'Farrell) set a steady pace at the head of affairs until headed on the run-in by Mulqueen's mount who stayed on strongly to win, going away, by three-and-a-half lengths.

Mulqueen said: ''I wanted to get to the stands' rail on the run-in, so I thought I'd better go for it approaching the last before the odds-on favourite shut the door on me. She's still a bit weak but appreciated the stiff track and toughed it out well.''

Bought for £30,000 at Tattersalls Cheltenham Sale in mid-November less than four weeks after landing a 3m Mares Maiden Race at Umma House on her third Pointing start, the six-year-old is related to 2013 Welsh National hero Monbeg Dude and looks a mare to follow over fences next season.

After sending out seven winners the previous week, Nick Alexander's Kinneston yard kept the bandwagon rolling with Cream Of The West's victory under Danny McMenamin in the 2m7f Betting.Bet Free Cheltenham Festival Tips Handicap Hurdle Race.

Despite not always being fluent at his hurdles in the attritional conditions, Cream Of The West took it up from Fevertre (James Best) approaching the last and the lightly raced eight-year-old battled on bravely all the way to the line to hold off his rallying rival by a neck for a second win of the season.

Four miles on heavy ground ensured the BK Racing Hexham Marathon Handicap Chase lived up to its name as the Stuart Coltherd-trained Breeze Of Wind (Sam Coltherd) swept to victory after the last.

Given a patient ride at the back, the seven-year-old was going nearly a mile further than he had been before.

His task was helped by all five runners taking things very slowly in the conditions, which resulted in the whole field having some sort of chance at the final fence.

Despite heading into unknown territory, Coltherd's mount came from third to first on the run-in to score by one-and-a-quarter lengths from gallant front-runner Don Brocco (William Maggs).

Coltherd Jnr said: ''There was a big question mark over the trip but when he hit the front he pricked his ears and won a shade cosily in the end.''

Conditional jockey Joe Williamson had his claim reduced after steering Heritier De Sivola to a first win over fences at the fifth time of asking in the 3m Paxton's Are Case IH's No.1 Dealer Handicap Chase.

In front throughout the final circuit, the Phil Kirby-trained seven-year-old forged clear off the home turn to beat Gibberwell (Philip Armson) by thirty two lengths.

Williamson said: ''That's me down to 3lb now, which is good, and this fellow might have won at Ayr last time had he jumped more fluently.''

After winning a bumper at Hexham twelve months ago, Clovis Island recorded a second course success in the 2m4f Betting.Bet Free Bets Maiden Hurdle Race.

The six-year-old made virtually every yard of the running under Sean Quinlan but, after forging clear up the hill from two out, had to pull out all the stops on the run-in to keep Rock Steady Eddie (Sam Coltherd) at bay by three-quarters-of-a-length.

Largy Train (Danny McMenamin) provided Stillington permit holder Henry Hogarth, who only has four horses in training, with his second winner of the campaign in the 2m4f Betting.Bet Free Bets Handicap Chase.

The seven-year-old led until headed after two out before dropping to third with a mistake at the last. He looked beaten until rallying under pressure to regain the initiative well inside the final furlong and score by one-and-a-quarter lengths from course specialist Cudgel (Conor O'Farrell).

Raffles Wonder (Aaron Anderson) was a very popular winner of the concluding 2m Betting.Bet Novices' Limited Handicap Hurdle Race.

Settling much better than he did last time at Newcastle, the seven-year-old was held up last of the nine runners under a confident ride from Anderson before making smooth headway from three out into second on the home turn. In front approaching the last, he forged clear on the run-in to win in great style by seventeen lengths from Bushmill Boy (Edward Austin).

Bought for £16,000 at Goffs UK Doncaster Sale in August 2022, the Rebecca Menzies-trained gelding has already recouped two thirds of his purchase price and still looks well handicapped.

Hexham stages an additional fixture tomorrow (March 22) which has been transferred from Sedgefield. There is half-price admission for racegoers with the action getting underway at 2.20pm.