The sight of Danny Mullins riding at Plumpton on a Monday could become more common in the future after Sweet Destination routed her rivals in the Download The Free At The Races App Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Without a win in her previous 11 starts under rules, the six-year-old mare changed that record with a 46-length success in the extended two-and-a-half-mile contest, to give the Grade One-winning rider and trainer Garrett Ahern their first victory at the track.
Mullins said of the 5-2 winner: “We knew coming over we had a decent chance today. I was happy to let the other lads get on a bit, as a few good jumps would bring me on to their tails. She was idling on her own down the straight a bit.
“Full credit Garrett, as he came and had a go. It is easy saying it, but to do it is another thing.
“I’ve had one ride here before a few years ago, but this is more memorable. We don’t usually race on Mondays in Ireland and I don’t mind coming back here again.”
There was a sad postscript to the race, as the Tim Vaughan-trained Presenting Berkley suffered a fatal injury after falling at the 15th fence.
Few horses are as loved at the Sussex track as diminutive mare Ding Ding.
The Sheena West-trained seven-year-old raised the roof when gaining her fifth course victory in taking the Free Tips Daily On attheraces.com Handicap Hurdle for the second year running.
West said following the 11-4 shot’s length success: “Ideally I would have liked more rain. Everybody was just willing her on and if everyone could have jumped out and lifted her over the line, they would have done.
“She is just a local horse and everybody loves a local star. It is very heartwarming. It puts more pressure on me as it is not just me and the connections that want her to win, but everybody here.
“I think it’s the way races are run that suit her. Turning in coming down the hill she is usually in last, but she makes her ground out coming down it as she can go flat out where other horses lose balance.”
Trainer Seamus Mullins was given a much-needed boost after Kentford Mallard left her previous form behind when getting up late on to score by a length and a half in the Jumps Season Ultimate Guide At attheraces.com Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.
Winning jockey Kevin Jones said of the 10-1 chance: “The yard had its open day on Sunday and they had a bit of trouble as they lost a horse. The team work so hard and hopefully this winner will pick them up again.
“She has definitely improved for a holiday this season.”
Zoffany Bay could make a swift return to action at on Tuesday following a near foot-perfect round in the Sky Sports Racing Launching January 2019 Maiden Hurdle.
Sam Stronge, assistant to his wife, Ali, said: “He has stepped up on his Exeter run and his schooling has been good. He has been fun on the Flat for his owners this summer and has really taking to jumping.
“He was quite professional the way he did it. I put him in at Exeter just in case something silly happened at the first hurdle happened, but we might have to consider it as the ground is still quick there.”