Natural History could be bound for Sandown’s Imperial Cup after a resounding success in the R.A.B.I./Joan Collinson Memorial Handicap Hurdle for Gary Moore and son Jamie at Plumpton.
Joining stablemate Goshen as a horse with a big target later in the month, the former smart Flat performer looked right at home on the drying ground as he kicked 15 lengths clear of Mystic Dreamer.
He might not have that class edge of Champion Hurdle prospect Goshen, but Moore had to admit that off a mark of 116 the 8-13 favourite – who holds a County Hurdle engagement at Cheltenham – was not badly treated for this first run in a handicap.
The trainer explained: “This has opened things up because we now know soft conditions are not essential for him.
“I’d like to think that must be a very good horse (Lucky One, trainer Paul Nicholls) that beat us 20 lengths at Wincanton, and now let’s see what the handicapper does.
“I’m easy about where he runs next, but the owner is quite ambitious and would like to have a crack at the Imperial Cup. He’ll need a substantial rise if he’s to get into it, and to be honest I won’t be crying if he doesn’t.”
Andy Irvine enjoyed a birthday winner after Dylanseoghan held on in a desperate finish to the Howden Sport And Equine Insurance Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase.
Under Page Fuller the veteran resisted What A Moment and the strong-finishing Tzar De L’elfe by a short head and a neck, and the winning jockey said: “Coming into the last I wasn’t sure that I was on a stride, but he winged it and was a lot happier back on good ground.
“You never know how the long-distance chases here are going to pan out, but he stayed on all the way up the straight. I’m delighted for Andy.”
Irvine was equally thrilled, and commented of the 12-1 winner: “I think a combination of a change of headgear and the better ground helped him. He got stuck in the mud last time.”
The drying ground played to the strengths of Fairway Freddy (7-2) who apart from one minor error put in a superb round of jumping to land the horseracingbetting.co.uk Handicap Chase by four and a quarter lengths from Flaminger.
His trainer Nick Gifford said: “He loves this ground and has won three times on good/good to firm. This is his cup of tea, and he was so well at home I’m not surprised he’s won like that.”
Ayr Of Elegance (100-30 favourite) landed some good bets to come home a cosy winner of the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Mares’ Handicap Hurdle for trainer David Jeffreys and jockey Kielan Woods.
Woods said: “When we tried cheek pieces it didn’t work, but she ran off the end of the gallop the other day and she never does that, so we knew she was super well.”
The market told the story in the Call Star Spirts On 08000 521 321 Handicap Hurdle as 13-8 favourite Midnight Aurora gained an effortless 12-length success over First Assembly and One For Dunstan.