CHRISTMAS is still four weeks away, but decorations are up in the High Street and there were choruses of 'Noel, Noel, The First Noel' coming from happy punters at Ascot Racecourse last Saturday, writes Dave Wright.

This was all in praise of jockey Noel Fehily, who was first past the past on three well-backed runners on the seven-race card.

The Irishman took the opening event, the Molton Brown Novices' Hurdle, on 9/2 shot Doux Pretender for Berkshire trainer Nicky Henderson, coming with a late run on the rail to beat 15/8 favourite Stoney Mountain, ridden by Andrew Tinkler, by a head in photo-finish.

Three lengths further back was Senior Citizen (3/1) in the colours of Sonning-based businessman Max Mcneill, who had seen two of his other horses finish third a week earlier.

Fehily was back in the winner's enclosure after the Class One Coral Hurdle, having steered the Harry Fry-trained If The Cap Fits (4/5 favourite) to a one-and-a-half-length victory over Old Guard (7/2), the mount of Bryony Frost.

Fehily made it three wins on the day as he won the Prince's Countryside Fund Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race aboard 9/4 favourite Hazzaar from Tom Lacey's yard.

He was also responsible for the winner of the Trisoft Mares' Handicap Hurdle, but this time it was Blewbury trainer Noel Williams who was celebrating following Sensulano's (7/1) half-length victory in the hands of Wayne Hutchinson over the 100/30 favourite Petticoat Tails, ridden by Gavin Sheehan.

Another Williams, Ian, sent out Kings of Realms (4/1) to win the Winning Post Bookmakers Bristol Chase over three miles, with Robert Dunne doing the steering.

The Grade Two Christy 1965 Chase produced an exciting finish with the well-backed 5/4 favourite Politologue, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies and trained by Paul Nicholls, holding off Charbel (5/2) by half-a-length at the end of two miles and five furlongs.

Twiston-Davies went on to complete a double – both on greys – by taking the Gerard Bertrand Hurst Park Handicap Chase on 16/1 shot Caid du Lin from Dr Richard Newland's yard.

The six-year-old took the lead in the final 75 yards and finished strongly to get the verdict over Speredek (12/1) by just over a length, much to the delight of owners, the Foxtrot Racing syndicate, who packed the winner's enclosure.

No doubt they toasted their success with race sponsor Gerard Bertrand's fine wines.

There will be more Christmas cheer at the Ascot course when they stage a two-day meeting in December 21-22.

Saturday's card will include the ultra-competitive Ascot Handicap Hurdle and the Grade 1 JLT Hurdle, one of the most prestigious long-distance hurdle races in Britain.