Hollows Mist responded to all Richard McGrath’s calls to gamely hold Irish raider Drumnavaddy Lough by a neck in the Knauf Insulation “It’s Time To Save Energy” Handicap Chase at Newcastle.
It may have only been an ordinary race - but it was nonetheless a famous success as it was the nine-year-old’s first in 23 attempts.
His trainer Barry Murtagh said: “We thought he was going to be a real good horse, but he has had all sorts of problems.
“It has been a long wait to win a race with him, but Richard said the horse had never felt better than he did today.”
Paul Dalton’s decision to bring Blazing Hills on a 360-mile round trip to paid off when he ran out a convincing winner of the Plumb Center-A Wolsey UK Company Handicap Chase in the hands of Andrew Thornton.
The 11-year-old had finished a distant fifth at Towcester on Sunday but Thornton certainly had no worries about his stamina and made all the running, staying on gamely to hold Super Revo by three-quarters of a length, with Looking Forward a neck away in third. Only five of the 11 runners completed the course.
Dalton, based in Derbyshire, was saddling his first winner since Blazing Hills scored at Southwell in June last year and the win brought back memories of his days as a jockey.
He said: “I rode for Andrew’s grandfather, Tommy, when I was with Jimmy Etherington about 30 years ago, but I never rode a winner for him.
“We have been wanting fast ground for him but we never had it all summer, he likes to bounce off the ground a bit.”
Keith Mercer kept up his 100% for the Ann Duffield stable this season when he brought Finland home a wide-margin winner of the Eaga Climate Change Beginners’ Chase.
The favourite Hilly Gale had taken up the running going out on the final circuit but was headed at the last fence on the far side and although he was still a close third entering the straight, he was pulled up lame after jumping fourth last.
Finland, having his second outing over fences, had gone on at the fifth-last and had 20 lengths to spare over Sticky End at the line, despite being a bit untidy at the final fence.
Mercer said of the 3-1 winner: “I was pleased with Finland, he jumped well apart from the last, but he was never going to fall.”
The Alan McCabe-trained Summer Lodge gained the cheekiest of wins under Josh Byrne in the PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Novices’ Hurdle, but there was a sting in the tail for the jockey, who believes there is a good race in the four-year-old.
Summer Lodge, carrying the colours of ROA president Paul Dixon, led for the second time at the third-last hurdle and with Byrne hardly moving a muscle despite the attentions of Regent’s Secret from the final flight, he held his challenge by a neck.
However, the stewards ruled he had interfered with the runner-up and found Byrne guilty of careless riding and suspended him for two days, November 12 and 13.
Park’s Prodigy, even-money favourite on the strength of two promising efforts, made it third time lucky under Barry Keniry in the DLA Piper UK LLP Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle.
Christian Williams rode his second winner for Sue Smith and his first on the course when Leac An Scail (13-2) made a successful debut for the Bingley trainer in the Brewin Dolphin Investments Banking Handicap Hurdle.