McCain joy on day of drama at Ayr

Ginger McCain equalled his previous best seasonal total when Regal Heights’ victory at Ayr put the Aintree legend on 22 for the campaign.

Ginger McCain equalled his previous best seasonal total when Regal Heights’ victory at Ayr put the Aintree legend on 22 for the campaign.

The winner was ridden by man of the moment Steven Craine, who was enjoying his fifth success in the last three racing days on a card which was subsequently cut short following a fire in a garden shed close to the course.

Immediately after that contest had been run, the police and fire brigade decided the meeting should be abandoned on grounds of safety.

Nearby houses were evacuated and a 200-metre safety cordon thrown down around the garden shed. As areas of the track fell inside the safety zone, racing was called off.

Clerk of the course Anthea Morshead explained: “We are very, very disappointed but police inspector Peter McDonald and the senior fire officer have assessed the situation and unfortunately parts of the racecourse fall within this exclusion zone around the garden shed, which had this gas tank in it.

“They have evacuated houses and said no racing must take place in the next 24 hours. No-one is to go within this exclusion zone for 24 hours to give the gas tank time to cool down.

Craine had landed a treble at Musselburgh on Friday and 24 hours later he partnered Ebony Light to victory in the featured Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock Park.

He was once again seen to good effect on McCain’s charge in the Kennedy Construction Maiden Hurdle.

The start was delayed by 15 minutes due to the fire, but once the race was under way it was Auenmoon who settled down in the lead. The 80-1 outsider looked like staying there until he was collared on the run-in by Craine on Regal Heights.

The latter, a 12-1 shot, quickly got the better of the argument to win going away by a length.

“This horse is a big baby and when he ran here last time he needed it and had a good blow,” said Craine.

“That’s 22 now for Ginger and that equals his best numerically.”

Morgan Be had earlier won like a long odds-on shot should when he trotted up in the EBF Poster Plus “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier).

Kate Walton’s promising gelding was sent off at 1-4 on the strength of some good recent efforts and he landed the money in style.

Tony Dobbin tracked the leaders on Morgan Be before allowing him to stride on three out and he came home to score eased down by eight lengths from Kempski.

“He’s a nice horse in the making and what he does over hurdles is a bonus,” said Mrs Walton. “He needs soft ground but that two and a half miles on heavy was a fair test.

“He has schooled over fences and he’ll make a fair staying chaser.”

Green Ideal was another to appreciate the heavy going when he ground out victory in the Giles Insurance Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase.

The 13-2 chance took over from the front-running Jolly Boy racing off the home turn and under a strong drive from Tom Dreaper fought off a series of challengers to land the spoils by a length from Fountain Brig.

After dismounting from the Ferdy Murphy-trained winner, Dreaper said: “This horse ran a good race when he was second to Edmo Yewkay at Wetherby and last time he was running a big race until he fell.

“He has just been unlucky but he was as tough as old boots this time.”

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