AMATEUR rider Chester Williams, gave an example of his continuing ability when he scored on Peruvien Bleu in the totepoolracing Follow For Racing News Handicap Hurdle at Ludlow races on Sunday.

With none of his other three rivals keen to take a lead, Williams let the five-year-old, trained by his father Nick, go to the front after initial leader Wishfull Dreaming had led the field for 100yards and he manipulated the race to suit his mount.

Williams made the most of Peruvien Bleu's speed and the 5/1 shot stuck to his task and had enough in reserve to score by a length and a quarter from runner-up Hestina.

A delighted rider said afterwards: "The plan was not to be in front, but he was doing too much as we were going a crawl, so I felt I could control it in front and I gave him a breather down the side," he described.

"He needs good ground, so we'll keep going through the summer. There's a valuable two-mile hurdle at Market Rasen in July. That would be a race to go for now."

Reigning champion jockey Richard Johnson has already begun the defence of his title and he struck at the Ludlow course aboard Ozzy Thomas in the totepool Supporting Mental Health Awareness Week Novices' Handicap Chase.

Sent off the 7/4 favourite, trainer Henry Oliver's seven-year-old was stepping up to three miles for the first time but he had no problems in drawing away to score by 12 lengths once Johnson had asked him to quicken at the third-last fence.

Trainer Kim Bailey and jockey David Bass enjoyed a double at the course with Robin The Raven and Dandy Dan.

Robin The Raven, who previously was thought good enough to run in the champion bumper at the Cheltenham Festival, made a winning debut over jumps with a taking display in the Alexa Collis Memorial Novices' Hurdle and should be followed next time out.

His stablemate Dandy Dan was sent out 15/8 and led from start to finish to win the Ann Esp Memorial 'Newcomers' Standard Open National Hunt Flat Races.

Azzuri continued the excellent start to the new season for the trainer/jockey combination of brothers Dan and Harry Skelton with a taking display in the Simon Arbuthnot Memorial Novices' Hurdle by running his rivals into the ground to score by three-and-a-quarter lengths from runner-up Otter Moon.