Local riders led the way on the second day of the Chester International Show. Despite heavy rain during the morning, spectators’ spirits were raised when first day’s winner Keith Shore completed a double of victories by riding Sky News to victory in a hot jump-off for the Esengroup Stakes.

This show carries top class prize-money and there was £2,500 on offer for the winner of the Speed Stakes. James Davenport may have had an early draw, but he set off with a will on Martin Dawes’s Florie Du Moulin and this lovely mare, who has carried James to so many wins in the past, answered every question over a tricky track to set an unbeatable standard.

“Florie can get very buzzy, so I think the rain helped,” said James’s father, Steve. “The soft going slowed her down a bit and made her think.”

James’s closest rival was last-drawn Andrew Hamilton, who rode a lovely round on Sandra Cordiner’s Ludwig H. The Scotsman was also one of six who gained maximum points in the second of the Royston Products Seven-Year-Old qualifiers on another stallion, the 2003 Horse & Hound Foxhunter finalist Pall Mall H.

The opening honours today went to Tim Stockdale, who shrugged off the pain of his broken thumb to defeat a big field on John Boster’s ultra-consistent Fresh Direct Glenwood Springs.

“This was the first class ‘Woody’s’ ever won here,” said Tim. “Despite his experience, he can sometimes be spooky and in previous years he’s always found too much to look at.”