Brian Ellison enjoyed a bumper pay-day when winning two big Betfair-sponsored prizes with cast-offs Sound Accord and Hada Men at Haydock.
The North Yorkshire trainer picked up the pair for less than £8,000 and was rewarded several times over.
Both finals in their respective series were worth £32,490 to the winner, and Ellison also picked up place money in both as he saddled a total of nine horses in the two races.
Hada Men, one of the seven Ellison saddled in the 20-runner Betfair. Don’t Settle For Less Handicap Hurdle, came out on top despite struggling for much of the race.
Things didn’t look good when the 4-1 favourite clouted the first hurdle and was towards the rear, but he made stealthy progress and led before the last.
Cloudy Bob headed him briefly, but Hada Men’s superior Flat speed proved the difference as he strode away for Aidan Coleman to win by a length and a half with Top Smart third. Ellison’s Andreo Bambaleo was fourth
“He made work hard of it and ran so lazy. He hit the first then dropped the bridle and I thought he was going nowhere then he just got going,” said Ellison.
“These races are just fantastic for horses rated around 115. I’ve never had seven in a race, maybe three or four the odd time.”
Ellison claimed the former Luca Cumani-inmate out of Tina Jackson’s stable for £4,000 at Wetherby in November, and can understand why she could never get the best out of him.
“I can see why Tina couldn’t get him fit. He’s lazy and needs a lot of work and we’ve got better horses for him to work him,” he went on.
“I think he’ll be better when he goes over three miles. He’s won over two on the Flat.”
Sound Accord (8-1) got home in the dying strides to collar Zitenka in the Read Nicholls And McCain On Betfair Handicap Chase (Betfair Chase Series Final).
Zitenka looked set to score, but Felix de Giles got a great run out of his mount to get up and win by a neck, with another Ellison runner, Bocciani, third.
Ellison said: “We got him for about £3,500 at the sales in the winter. He’d been pulled up in his three previous races and I was told if we could get him back then we would aim him at this series.
“He’s been getting better since he joined us. He used to be tailed off on the gallops now he finishes on the bridle.
“It’s been a great day – I know how Nicky Henderson feels now!”
Auroras Encore (12-1) could be for bound for the Coral Scottish Grand National after returning to form in the Betfair. For Better Odds Levy Board Handicap Chase.
Ryan Mania kicked on before the home turn on Sue Smith’s 10-year-old and he held on well to land the spoils.
Torphichen was second, seven lengths behind the winner, with Gansey, also trained by Smith, third.
“It’s the Scottish National for him now as long as the handicapper doesn’t massacre him,” said Harvey Smith, the trainer’s husband and assistant.
The in-form Smith team were also in the winner’s at Carlisle with Dartford Warbler and You Know Yourself.
Grandads Horse (5-1) bounced back after two runs in better company to win for the fifth time this season in the Better Prices On Betfair Mobile “Fixed Brush” Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.
Charlie Longsdon’s charge was pushed all the way by two Smith-trained horses, Pinerolo and Vintage Star, to win by a neck and a length and a quarter.
“He’s a three-mile chaser in the making. I thought he’d be competitive off this mark. He should have been third not sixth at Cheltenham where he was badly impeded up the hill,” said Longsdon.
“We’ll look at Sandown in three weeks’ time, there’s a two-mile-three handicap hurdle for him. Then
we’ll probably put him away for the season.”
Bradley, another Cheltenham also-ran, was rewarded with victory in the Betfair Remembers Tim Molony Handicap Chase.
Fergal O’Brien’s eight-year-old, the 11-4 favourite, battled on stoutly for Timmy Murphy to hold Wide Receiver by six lengths.
“That’s his sixth run over fences. He’s won three, been second twice and eighth in the Foxhunters (at Cheltenham). He won his point-to-point and has been a great little horse for us,” said O’Brien.
“He’s got me off the cold list and we’ll run him again somewhere.”
First-time blinkers worked as Lidar (7-2) made all under Wayne Hutchinson to score by 34 lengths from Kings Grey in the Betfair Brings You Better Value Novices’ Chase.
“He’s a horse I’ve always thought the world of, but he’s been a huge disappointment. The engine’s there and the blinkers have made a big difference,” said trainer Alan King.
“We might take him up to Ayr for something at the Scottish National meeting. He’s only a novice for a few more weeks, so we had better find something for him.”
King completed a first-and-last-race double when Letsby Avenue, ridden by Gerald Tumelty, got up close home to beat Florida Quays by half a length in the Check Betfair Before You Bet Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.