Mick Quinn was thrilled to see Pink Sheets take Listed gold with an impressive front-running success in the Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side On Football Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury.
Arriving on the back of hat-trick of wins, the improving six-year-old added to that tally when taking a step up in class in her stride with a dominant display.
Finding plenty from the from the front, the 10-1 shot kept on gamely all the way to line to defeat the running-on Ahorsewithnoname by three and a half lengths.
Quinn said: “I’m chuffed to bits. She has just improved with every race this year. She had won her last three and she deserved to take her chance at this grade. I don’t think she got the credit she deserved for winning with a double penalty against the geldings last time.
“Jack (Quinlan) schooled her Wednesday and he felt from 19 days ago, she had strengthened, was full of herself and jumped beautifully.
“She doesn’t have to front run, but if no one is going to go on, she is happy to bowl along. She just jumps from hurdle to hurdle. I thought her jumping was impeccable and I thought Jack rode a lovely race pace wise, as she just had enough to see it through.
“It’s my fifth stakes winner and the last one was a long time ago, so I’m chuffed to bits.”
Pink Sheets was introduced at 20-1 for the Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival by Paddy Power.
Floressa followed in the hoofprints of Grade One-winning stablemate Epatante by landing the Ladbrokes Committed To Safer Gambling Intermediate Hurdle.
Racing prominently throughout the extended two-mile prize, the 10-1 shot, who had a racecourse gallop at the track earlier this month, found plenty for pressure under Jerry McGrath to defeat The Pink’n by a length and a quarter.
Trainer Nicky Henderson said: “Reggie Pallas, the lad that looks after this filly and rides her every day, has done a brilliant job as she is not the easiest. I swore she wanted two and a half. The owners were adamant she was a two-miler and they got their way and quite rightly.
“They had a lot of fun with her last year and Jerry has given her a super front-running ride. Reggie and the owners must take most the credit.
“She is a hot-headed lady, like most of the good ones are, and we put one of those red hoods on, but it made no difference.
“It’s amazing to think this was the race that Epatante started off on 137 last year and she was off 141.”
Cap Du Nord opened his account for the campaign when improving on last year’s fifth to win the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase.
Appearing to benefit from a strong pace set by eventual third Mellow Ben, the Christian Williams-trained seven-year-old forged on after the second-last before drawing smartly clear to defeat recent Aintree scorer Canelo by four and a quarter lengths.
Jack Tudor, winning jockey, said of the 7-1 shot: “They went fast early on and we always thought he would stay very well.
“I thought I was a bit far back down the back, but they went such a good gallop I thought they would stop turning in. He passed a few horses, locked on and then he took off and won nicely in the end.
“I knew they were going fast as he is quite a good travelling horse and I was flat out the whole way. He ran well in the race last year and it is nice to win it this year.”
Flash The Steel set up a return to Graded company when bouncing back from a fall at Haydock seven days ago to claim the Get Your Ladbrokes £1 Free Bet Today Handicap Hurdle by a length and three-quarters.
Trainer Dan Skelton said of the 12-1 shot: “We were frustrated with that (Haydock) as he jumped the jump and almost forgot to put his legs out.
“We jumped him twice in the week and we were happy with him and if we weren’t, we wouldn’t have brought him.
“His work at home was very good and I went to Haydock full of excitement, but coming here today, backing up that quick, you never really know, but he has done it really well.
“I’m going to try him in the Relkeel on New Year’s Day. It’s a step back up to Graded company and he doesn’t carry a penalty.”