The Cumbrian yards of John Dixon (Thursby) and Joanne Murphy (Grange-over-Sands) might only have a handful of horses in training but that didn't stop them both celebrating a winner at Hexham last Saturday.

Captain Zebo's success in the 2m4f Paxtons For Milwaukee Power Tools Handicap Hurdle Race was a real family affair. Trained by Thursby farmer John Dixon and owned by wife Sheila, the evergreen 12-year-old was as usual given a positive ride by son John. After making virtually every yard of the running off a career low mark of 114, the veteran gamely kept Les's Legacy (Nathan Moscrop) at bay in the final half-furlong to score by a head. 

Appreciating a sounder surface on his return from a 310-day break, this was the gelding's seventh win over hurdles for the Dixon team, but only his second in seventeen starts since completing a five-timer in December 2020.

Always in the leading pair, Toucan Sam (Nick Orpwood) went on at the seventh in the featured 3m Paxtons Heart Of All England Maiden Hunters' Chase and looked the winner when still four lengths ahead of Dressedtoimpress (Paddy Barlow) at the last. However, the complexion of the race changed dramatically on the run-in as the leader tired and Barlow's mount swept past him well inside the final furlong to win, going away, by two-and-a-quarter lengths, with favourite Cool Desire (John Dawson) a never dangerous third.

Barlow said: ''It all happened a bit quick for him over a shorter trip at Overton a fortnight ago although he was entitled to need that run after seventeen months off, and I thought he was booked for second here coming to the last before finding plenty on the run-in.''

Five Dollar Fine followed up last month's course win under a patient ride from Danny McMenamin in the 2m Paxtons For Genuine Kverneland Spares Handicap Chase. Defying a 9lb higher mark, Ann Hamilton's charge was produced with a perfectly timed challenge to collar Home Free (Fergus Gillard) inside the final furlong before asserting close home to score by a length.

There was also an exciting finish in the 3m Mick Walsh Open Ditch Handicap Chase with long-time leader Ballylinch (Brian Hughes) collared fifty yards from the line by Dr Shirocco (Conor O'Farrell) who stayed on best to win by a length, a third success in the last five starts for Sandy Forster's gelding.

Cheltenham raider Guard The Moon (Sam Twiston-Davies) justified odds-on favouritism in the 2m7f Harrison Family Remembering Loved Ones Maiden Hurdle Race. The 6-year-old made all the running, jumping well most of the way, and was always doing enough to beat Boomslang (Ross Chapman) by one-and-three-quarter lengths, with Maurice Barnes-trained Didn't Ask (Conor Rabbitt) shaping well in third.

Norfolk trainer Toby Bulgin's first visit to Hexham proved to be one to remember as Rue Taylor made a winning debut under Brian Hughes in the concluding 2m Paxtons Are Case IH's No.1 Dealer Mares' Open National Hunt Flat Race. The youngster found another gear when the chips were down in the home straight, heading Beau Della (Conor O'Farrell) inside the final furlong before drawing clear to score a shade comfortably in the end by three lengths. 

The 4-year-old, bought for £27,000 at Goffs UK Doncaster Sale nine months ago, is related to multiple jumps winners in France including Gaelic Ocean and Galop Marin.

The next meeting at Hexham is on Tuesday, May 21 with the first race at 5.58pm.