Irish import Anglers Crag looked a promising recruit for the David Pipe stable when making a successful debut over timber at Leicester.
The seven-year-old, who was formerly with Terence O’Brien, floored the long odds-on shot Dubrovnik Harry in the EBF British Stallion Studs ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle.
Anglers Crag won a point-to-point and bumper in Ireland, as well as finishing third to Cheltenham Festival scorer Sir Gerhard, and transferred that form to the smaller obstacles on his first start for the Pipe.
Anglers Crag (10-1) was too strong for the 1-3 favourite Dubrovnik Harry and got the verdict by half a length in the hands of Tom Scudamore.
“Delighted with that. He’s a horse we’ve thought a lot of. He’s had his issues. He’s always shown the right tendencies at home and has improved for the step up in trip,” said Scudamore.
“He knows how to win and he wants to win. It’s hard work out there but he’s ground it out well. I was taken with him. He’s a strapping horse and every inch a chaser.”
Muckamore (85-40 joint favourite) made amends for a disappointing effort at Doncaster last month by landing a gritty triumph in the Best Ticket Deals Online @leicesterracecourse.co.uk Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Owned by the Noel Fehily Racing Syndicate, the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained eight-year-old outpointed the other market leader Sam Barton by two and a quarter lengths under the trainer’s son Sam.
“We were a bit disappointed with him last time at Doncaster but Sam gave him a great ride today and the cheekpieces might have helped him a little bit,” said former jump jockey Fehily.
“He’s a horse we thought a lot of in the early days. It’s taken him a while but he’s won two chases this year. He’s a good little horse.”
The fragile Weebill (100-30) registered a second consecutive course win in the Leicester Racecourse Ideal Self-Hire Wedding Venue Claiming Hurdle.
Ridden confidently by 5lb claimer Katie O’Farrell, the 10-year-old took over from long-time leader Ar Mest two out and went on to score by a length and quarter. Coole Well was a head away in third.
“He’s a horse who’s had loads of issues. He’s got glass legs – he’s had a year off, had a run, then had another year off but it’s nice to win another race with him and he’s got good owners – Roger and Carol Skan,” said trainer Olly Murphy.
“I know it’s at basement level but it’s nice to get another win. He’s a fun horse and he’s won twice on the bounce now.”
Lively Citizen (2-1 joint-favourite) could be headed for the County Hurdle at Cheltenham after getting back to winning ways following some bad luck at Prestbury Park on Saturday.
David Jeffreys’ charge was pulled up after his saddle slipped badly when fancied to win a second prize at the home of jump racing this season.
However, that was forgotten as the seven-year-old took the racingtv.com Golden Miller Handicap Hurdle by half a length from Presuming Ed under 7lb claimer Archie Bellamy.
“We’ve forgotten about Saturday now. It was a freak accident that happened – a slipped saddle – but he’s such a trouper. As you saw there, he’ll never let a horse pass him. He’s so tough and he’ll find another gear when he has to,” said Bellamy.
“When I walked out to the paddock, I couldn’t believe how calm he was compared to Cheltenham on Saturday. With all the crowd and the noise he got a bit fizzy and fed up but he’s done the job today. The plan now, hopefully, is the County Hurdle.”
Patroclus (11-4) edged out Guy in a thrilling finish to the Leicester Racecourse Ideal Conference Venue Handicap Chase.
The Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old battled on gamely for James Bowen in the closing stages to gain the verdict by a neck.
Henderson said: “I’ve always liked this horse a lot, I love him. I was very disappointed at Newbury the first time but he couldn’t get out of the ground to save his life. He wants three miles.
“He showed a good attitude and he’s learning. He hasn’t much experience so he did well to win as it was a competitive little race. We can build on that now.”
Turning Gold sprang a 40-1 shock when making all the running for owner-trainer Robert Bevis and jockey Gavin Sheehan in the Next Meeting @leicesterraces Thursday 17th February Handicap Hurdle.