It was case of the icing on top of the cake as far as trainer Lucy Wadham was concerned following the victory of Mystic Sky in the feature prize at Huntingdon on Tuesday.
After gaining some valuable black type when second in a Listed event at Wetherby last time out, the seven-year-old opened her account for the campaign with a length-and-a-half success in the Jo Andrews Belated Birthday Wishes Michaelmas Handicap Hurdle.
The Newmarket handler said of her 7-2 winner: “She ran a massive race at Wetherby last time and split two horses rated 137 and 140 off level weights.
“They had put her back up to her personal best (handicap mark), but if she reproduced that form she was well in and it proved to be, thank goodness.
“She does like good ground and that’s one reason why we came today. We were delighted to get the Listed place last time. We will take it race by race, but the plan was to get black type which we have already done.”
Sarah Humphrey ended her 362-day wait for a winner when Brecon Hill made the most of a drop back to two miles in the GT Exhibitions UK Novices’ Hurdle by six lengths.
Humphrey said of the 14-1 chance: “It is a welcome winner. The last time he ran he came back sick and the horses were sick. We closed the whole yard down.
“He is quite free-going so we decided to go down in trip. Now they are in good form it has all come together today.”
There is unlikely to be anyone at the yard of Kim Bailey’s boasting a bigger smile than assistant trainer Matt Nicholls, after By The Boardwalk gained his first victory in more than two years when lunging late to take the George Terry Evelyn Veterans’ Handicap Chase.
Bailey said of the 9-2 scorer: “It was last chance hotel today. We had a big discussion yesterday morning about sheepskin cheekpieces.
“My assistant Matt said ‘come on, we’ve tried everything else’, so it’s his decision. If he wins then you can take the credit and if he gets beat I’ll take the blame!
“I’m pleased for the owner as he is a big supporter of mine. It was nice to see him back in the winner’s enclosure.”
Connections of Strong Resemblance enjoyed another successful visit to the Cambridgeshire track as the Oliver Greenall-trained seven-year-old backed up his course win over hurdles with a 17-length success in the GT Exhibitions Dubai Novices’ Handicap Chase.
John Stockton, one of the 12-strong Oliver’s Army syndicate, said: “My wife’s aunty and uncle lived in Ely, so we use to come down here (Cambridgeshire) quite a bit, but not to the racecourse. When we have been (to the track) it’s been extremely good.
“He had jumped fences before and he jumped well, except for the last. “
Tom O’Brien endured a frustrating afternoon before giving Flat trainer Martyn Meade his first winner at the track when getting Cascova up by a neck in the bumper.
O’Brien said of the 5-1 winner: “There have been no real excuses throughout the day and I’ve had to wait for it to come, but I’ve got it now. They said he had been going pretty well.”