Stonific made light of a lengthy break from hurdling to take the £35,000 Betway Summer Handicap Hurdle at Market Rasen.
Trained by David O’Meara and campaigned on the Flat since February 2020, the eight-year-old had been successful three times on the level during his jumping sabbatical and showed no signs of rustiness under the National Hunt code.
Starting at 40-1 under Tom Scudamore, the bay battled past his rivals in a tight run in to the line to prevail by a head from Emma Lavelle’s Hang In There.
“I just wish David had a few more jumpers after that, he’s got enough Flat horses,” smiled Scudamore said after the performance.
“It’s been too long (in front of a crowd) for obvious reasons, but it’s lovely to see everybody and for a syndicate like this, there’s plenty of stories and it doesn’t take much to get involved.”
“He was very tough there and it’s nice to get a winner for David and the owners.”
Steve Jessop, representing winning part-owners Hurn Racing Club, added: “We’re all from Beverley and there’s 14 in the group, while the other half (Rasio Cymru) had a winner last night, so we’re having a good do!
“We’re just working class people and we’ve had the syndicate for 25 years so it’s just unbelievable to win this.”
Taste The Fear continued his fine run of summer form when taking the Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap Hurdle for Sam Twiston-Davies and Dr Richard Newland.
The six-year-old has won twice since March and has been placed in virtually all of his runs this year, finishing second on his handicap debut at Uttoxeter last time out after a spring campaign in novice company.
Starting at 100-30 for the six-runner contest, the gelding travelled strongly throughout and eventually took up the lead with two flights remaining, crossing the line two and three-quarters of a length ahead of Ask Henry.
“It was nice little race for him and he’s such a genuine horse,” Newland said.
“We had injury problems with him last year and we couldn’t get him on the track after his bumper win, but since we’ve got going he hasn’t looked back.
“If he hasn’t won he’s been placed on nearly every run, he’s been super.
“He’ll have a break, he will handle softer ground so in my eyes that might help him, I’m going to give him a six-week break and then you’ll probably see him back in October or November.”
Dal Horrisgle followed up an easy win at Uttoxeter with another at Market Rasen, this time taking the Betway Novices’ Hurdle by eight lengths under Tom Cannon.
The 1-5 favourite of a field of three, Alan King’s charge continued his fruitful summer campaign when making all the running and coming home comfortably ahead of both of his rivals.
“It’s a hot day and he had a bit of weight so we didn’t have to go hard,” Cannon said.
“We just got racing two (hurdles) out and he won really nicely.”
Sir Hoodie was victorious for his new stable when taking the Betway Handicap Hurdle for Harry Bannister and Alex Hales.
The seven-year-old joined Hales’ yard following the retirement of Charlie Mann, finishing fifth on his debut for his new handler and progressing to seal a five-and-a-half-length victory in Lincolnshire.
“When Charlie retired he very kindly asked the owners to send some horses our way and this is one of them,” Hales said.
“She came to us and was a bit disappointing, but she’s had a wind op and the owner adores her, she’s won plenty of races and she’s a lovely mare to have around.
“I’m thankful because Charlie put a lot of faith in me with these horses, so it’s great to win with one.”
Sunset Showdown prevailed at 3-1 for Aidan Coleman and Rebecca Curtis in the Betway Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase, after which the concluding race of the day, the Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap Chase, was claimed by Rooster Cogburn (85-40 favourite) for Sean and Peter Bowen.