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Mrs Hyde continues swift progression with Wetherby win

Mrs Hyde proved too strong for Grade One-winning mare Verdana Blue in the bet365 Mares’ Hurdle at Wetherby.

Nicky Henderson’s 2018 Christmas Hurdle heroine was the 5-6 favourite to get back on the winning trail, having filled the runner-up spot behind Silver Streak in a Listed event at Kempton a fortnight ago.

Verdana Blue had upwards of 22lb in hand over her six rivals in West Yorkshire on official ratings, but came up short in the rain-softened ground.

The Brian Ellison-trained Mrs Hyde had won on the same Kempton card a couple of weeks ago and was a 6-1 shot to double her Listed tally in the hands of Daryl Jacob.

Verdana Blue loomed up ominously in the home straight, but Mrs Hyde refused to bend on the run-in and saw her off by a neck.

“She’s never stopped improving,” said Ellison.

“When she won at Southwell and Perth during the summer, she made the running, but after she got beat at Market Rasen we decided we’d drop her in and give her a chance. It worked at Kempton and it’s worked again today.

“Daryl said he got to the front a bit early today. The plan was to sit until the last and try to pick the favourite off.

“She’s won on soft ground today and won on good to firm. She’s tough.”

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Brian Ellison was delighted with Mrs Hyde's performance
Brian Ellison was delighted with Mrs Hyde’s performance (Brian Lawless/PA)

Considering future plans, the trainer added: “She’s won four of her last five races now and we might just give her a break.

“I know she’s won twice left-handed now, but I do think she’s better right-handed, so we could go back to Kempton or somewhere like that.”

Sean Bowen delivered Irish raider Hear No Evil with a well-timed challenge to claim the Price Promise At bet365 Handicap Chase.

The 16-1 shot was settled at the rear of the field for much of the three-mile contest, but came home strongly to score by nine and a half lengths from Grange Ranger.

It was a welcome boost for trainer Noel Kelly, who had to withdraw stable star Decor Irlandais from the Grade Two bet365 Hurdle later in the afternoon.

He said: “Decor Irlandais is here, but he pulled off a shoe. It’s a bit frustrating, but at least he didn’t break a tendon or something. It’s only a pulled shoe and it’s not the end of the world.

“We bought this horse (Hear No Evil) out of Dan Skelton’s yard. We said to Sean ‘take your time and if they go too fast, he’ll keeping plugging on’. He gave him a brilliant ride, I thought.”

Skelton’s Ashtown Lad displayed courage and class in equal measure to win a bet365 Novices’ Hurdle run in atrocious conditions.

Narrowly beaten over the course and distance on his previous outing, the 11-10 favourite was sent straight to the lead by Harry Skelton and jumped slickly and travelled strongly, despite the driving rain, on his way to a near three-length verdict.

A sodden Dan Skelton said: “He’s a very nice horse and he has a good attitude, obviously, to go from the front in that weather.

“He’s a chaser really and I always felt like this was a good horse.

“I’m not sure what we’ll do now. I’ll talk to Darren (Yates, owner) and decide.”

Minella For Me after winning at Wetherby
Minella For Me after winning at Wetherby (Ashley Iveson/PA)

Tom George and Johnny Burke combined to claim the bet365 Handicap Chase with 9-1 shot Minella For Me.

Carrying the colours of owner Simon Clarke, whose popular grey Nacarat won the Charlie Hall Chase on this card a decade ago, Minella For Me passed the post with five and a half lengths in hand over 100-30 favourite Guy.

Burke said: “He’s a very honest horse. He used to be quite keen, but he’s grown up a lot and is settling well and jumping well.

“He’s a good, fun horse for his owner Simon, who has been a great supporter of Tom.”

Burke went on to complete a double aboard Jonjo O’Neill’s 4-1 favourite Arrivederci in the concluding bet365 Handicap Hurdle.

Mrs Hyde bounces back to bag Listed prize

Mrs Hyde secured the most notable success of her career in the Racing TV Novices’ Hurdle – forming the middle leg of a treble for rider Nico de Boinville  at Kempton.

Having had her colours lowered over hurdles for the first time at Market Rasen on her most recent start, the Brian Ellison-trained seven year-old bounced back with victory in this Listed event.

Moving smartly into contention, Mrs Hyde showed an admirable attitude from the back of the last to defeat Fidelio Vallis by a length and three-quarters.

De Boinville said of the 15-2 shot: “She is very straightforward and very gutsy, and she has run all the way to the line.

“I had a word with Brian Ellison and Brian Hughes (who has ridden her in her last three starts).

“They said she was very tough and to just ride her as you find her and ride for a place – and then you never know what might happen.

“I wasn’t really confident until going to two out.”

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The Grade One-winning rider had to sit tight before getting his haul up and running aboard Overpriced Mixer, who attempted to run out at the last before going on to collect the opening Racing TV Juvenile Hurdle by half a length.

Winning trainer Nicky Henderson said of the 7-4 shot: “I don’t know why he did that at the last, because he had been out in front nearly all the way and he was doing everything nicely. Without that, he would have won fairly easily.

“He had been to Henrietta Knight’s to get him going – but he was slick there and he is a natural hurdler, so it is a good start.

“I think he wants to do something like that again [win a similar race] after that little blip. He wants to learn a bit more, before we do anything exciting.”

Sunrise Ruby makes it two from two this season with victory in the racintv.com Novices' Hurdle at Kempton (Alan Crowhurst/PA Images)
Sunrise Ruby makes it two from two this season with victory in the racingtv.com Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton (Alan Crowhurst/PA Images)

Sunrise Ruby completed De Boinville’s three-timer, and a double for Henderson, when backing up her recent Newton Abbot success by five and a half lengths in the racingtv.com Novices’ Hurdle.

Henderson said of the 1-2 favourite: “She should have won over hurdles last season – but she didn’t, and we are reaping the rewards now.

“Life is going to get more difficult now, because she will have a double penalty in novice races, so we may look at handicaps.

“She loves this ground, so we have to crack on whatever – you won’t be seeing her out in the winter.”

Fairway Freddy provided trainer Nick Giffiord with a timely boost – just days after stable star Theo’s Charm suffered a fatal heart attack on the gallops – with a two-and-a-half-length success in the Racing TV Novices’ Handicap Chase.

Remembering Theo’s Charm, Gifford said : “ He was a real favourite – we had him a long time, and he was a big softie really.

“It is a big loss, because he was such a character of a horse. It was very sombre at evening stables, and the next day everyone was down.

“They will all have been screaming this one home, so hopefully we can move on now.”

Fairway Freddy could be in line for a swift return to action, with Gifford considering giving the seven-year-old another outing at Hereford on Wednesday.

He added: “Most have mine have been running well first time out – but he just needed it, so I knew he would come on for the run.

“I just put him in at Hereford because he will love the ground. I know he can back it up, especially on better ground.

“I put him in more in hope than anything, but we will see how he comes out of it.”