Maire Banrigh took her winning run to five as she blitzed the opposition in the MansionBet Faller Insurance Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase at Doncaster.
Unbeaten in three starts over fences following this latest triumph, after scoring twice over hurdles, the Dan Skelton-trained mare extended her sequence by jumping her rivals into submission over the two miles under a positive ride from the trainer’s brother Harry.
Clear at the last, Maire Banrigh (7-2) kept up the gallop to scoot home by 13 lengths from the 13-8 favourite Baddesley Knight.
Skelton’s assistant Tom Messenger said: “She was a massive price really. She’s done nothing but keep improving. She’s just needed time and she’s come good recently. It’s onwards and upwards.
“She’ll get a hike in the weights for that, so we’ll have to look at those decent novice chases in the spring.
“Aintree’s flat track might be ideal for her. We’ll have lots of options, so it’s a nice problem to have.
“She was in the Mares’ Listed Chase, but at this stage of her career it was easier to sidestep and go for this and get another one to her name.”
The Skelton team were completing a double after Boss Man Fred (10-11 favourite) made it three from three over the smaller obstacles as he ground out victory in the MansionBet Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Hurdle.
The five-year-old looks one for the future after following up wins at Kempton and Southwell with a promising staying performance to pull nine lengths clear of Snow Leopardess.
Messenger said: “It’s a hard track for a horse of his limited experience, because they get racing so far from home, so he was off the bridle a long way out.
“As he showed in his previous two runs, the further he goes the better he goes, and he only gets going late on in a race.
“He’s got a nice way of racing, and a good attitude. He’s a three-mile chaser for the future. We’ll look after him and allow him to be the horse he can be next year or the year after.”
Fantastic Ms Fox (13-2) made amends for unseating her rider on her jumps debut at Aintree – opening her account in the Owlerton Stadium Fillies’ Juvenile Maiden Hurdle.
Showing a neat turn of foot on the run from the final flight for Leighton Aspell, the Noel Williams-trained filly hit the front in the closing stages to beat Cuban Sun by three lengths – with Yauthym a neck away third.
“Naturally I’m quite pleased with that,” said Williams.
“She was a bit unlucky at Aintree, and did very little wrong.
“This track suits her, because she stays. She’s taken to jumping very well. It was a nice performance. I don’t know where we go from here.”
One Touch (9-2) is set to head for Cheltenham’s Festival Trials Day meeting next month, after an encouraging success in the CWS Plumbing And Heating British EBF ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier).
Like all of Ben Pauling’s string, the five-year-old was under a cloud for the first part of the season but built on a promising seasonal debut at Southwell four weeks ago to score by eight lengths under David Bass.
“He was supposed to be one of the first out this season, and we’re just chasing our tail the whole way because we couldn’t get a run into him,” said the Cotswolds trainer.
“We ran him over two miles at Southwell when they were getting there but (still) not right.
“I think he’s quite useful, and he’s shown that today – which is a relief.
“The owners would love to have a look at Cheltenham for the Trials Day – the two-and-a-half-mile Ballymore Trial. That’s possibly where we’ll have a look next. He’ll love a bit better ground.”
Caroline Bailey admits she has to get her thinking cap on, mapping out a programme for Boldmere, after the six-year-old supplemented his recent Leicester gains in the MansionBet Proud To Support British Racing Handicap Chase.
Given a confident ride by Sean Bowen, the 11-4 favourite led three out and drew clear on the run-in to win by 10 lengths from Bob Mahler.
“I’ve got to give some serious thought as to what we do next,” said Bailey.
Gunnery (2-1 favourite) ran out an easy winner of the Happy New Year From MansionBet Handicap Hurdle.
Always to the fore, Nicky Henderson’s six-year-old swept clear by 12 lengths in the hands of Nico de Boinville.
“You have to travel round here, and he’s done it nicely in the end,” said the jockey.