Jamie Snowden’s Pisgah Pike made a winning return to hurdling in the valuable Unibet 15 To Go Summer Handicap Hurdle at Market Rasen under Gavin Sheehan.
A winner of two novice chases last season, the seven-year-old reverted to the smaller obstacles to target a contest Snowden had first pencilled into the diary when the horse was the runner-up in the Listed Prelude Handicap Hurdle at this track in 2020.
Sent off at 22-1 after a well-beaten chase run last time out, the gelding was delivered late by Sheehan and just got the better of Fergal O’Brien’s Castel Gandolfo to succeed by a neck.
“We thought he was well capable of that,” said Snowden.
“He was always going to be a better hurdler than chaser and this has been the plan for a while.
“We didn’t necessarily think that he was going to beat the Irish horse (Cirque Royal, the 5-2 favourite) but we thought he had every chance of being placed and they don’t know what price they are.
“It’s all worked out. We looked at this race because you can guarantee the ground and the prize money is good, so it ticks a lot of boxes.
“We could perhaps come back for the Listed race in the autumn, but there’s nothing as such planned.”
Ask Paddington recorded a fourth successive win when landing the Unibet Horserace Betting Operator Of The Year Handicap Hurdle for Rebecca Menzies and Nathan Moscrop.
The eight-year-old has thrived since the turn of the season, relishing firmer ground when beginning his winning streak at Market Rasen in May and then collecting a Hexham victory before returning to Lincolnshire to land the Don and Betty Noble Commemorative Handicap Hurdle earlier in the month.
Over an extended two-mile-seven-furlong trip, the gelding was once again victorious at his favourite track, seeing off Sam Thomas’ Galileo Silver by three-quarters of a length as the 9-4 favourite.
“Nathan’s given him a lovely ride and he appreciates this better ground,” said Menzies.
“It’s his best run to date, we were hoping he’d stay and Nathan’s allowed him to – I’m delighted.
“He’s in a great place mentally, he just prefers this (summer ground) as we ran him over the winter and it was just a waste of time on that soft ground. Since we got the better ground, he’s just been a revelation.
“He’s a real dude, I love him.”
Olly Murphy’s Sure Touch was a straightforward winner of the Unibet Partnering Great Racing Welfare Cycle Novices’ Hurdle under Sean Bowen.
The six-year-old was the 4-5 favourite after a nine-length victory at Newton Abbot when last seen and duly followed that success up with another when prevailing by five lengths.
“Newton Abbot did his confidence the world of good, he’s won well again today and he’s probably a horse that is capable of winning off a double penalty.
“Whether we’ll have to claim off him I don’t know, but he’ll jump a fence next year and these lads (owners) have been with me since day one.
“It’s nice training winners for people who have always supported you – it’s great.”
Hang In There recorded a smooth success in the Unibet Offer Extra-Place Races Every Day Novices’ Chase for Emma Lavelle and Tom Bellamy.
The 4-6 favourite after two impressive triumphs over obstacles, the latter of which was a 27-length rout at Worcester, Hang In There strolled to another superb win when jumping immaculately and crossing the line 27 lengths to the good once again.
“He’s just grown in confidence and he’s having such a lovely time, he’s getting to do it in his own rhythm,” said Lavelle.
“Today was his first time doing it right-handed and he jumped just as well, he was a very decent hurdler and he just loves the good ground and he’s making into a lovely chaser.
“He isn’t big, he really respects his fences and he’s just done that with his ears pricked.
“I imagine we’ll now look at one of the early-season novices chases at Cheltenham at October.”