Lottie Crane is dreaming of hunter-chase glory at Aintree after enjoying a magical ride on Seefood at Leicester.
The point-to-point rider steered the 12-year-old, owned by her father Ivan, to register her first success under rules and the first under any discipline this season with a polished display in the Leicestershire Open Hunters’ Chase on Tuesday.
Seefood, a former smart performer in Ireland for the late Dessie Hughes, was having his first run since being bought by the jockey’s father out of Dr Richard Newland’s stable to be trained by Justin Landy.
The 9-4 shot brushed aside 10-11 favourite The Last But One to score by seven lengths after an impeccable round.
“It was the first time I’ve jumped with him, and he was absolutely winging his fences. I trusted him, because he finished second in the Grand Sefton at Aintree,” said the winning jockey.
“He was just class. At every fence he was really game. He’s a straightforward, easy ride – and he was doing it easy enough. I was just looking for the line.
“This is my first winner of the season. I’ve had 17 point-to-point winners all told, and I hope this will kick-start the season.
“Aintree is where we’re going (for the Foxhunter chase), fingers crossed. That is our whole family’s dream.”
Crane’s father was born in Leicestershire but spends most of his time in North Yorkshire, where he bought a farm three years ago.
He said: “I’ve had winners before but mainly in point-to-points, because that is the route the daughter wanted to take.
“It would be magic if we could get to Aintree.
“I have a share in Trapper Peak that won earlier at Catterick, so it’s been a great day.”
Landy said: “He goes like a smart horse at home. He doesn’t look or act like a 12 year-old.
“This is the best race I’ve ever won.
“He had to be in the first three to qualify for Aintree. He’s done that. I don’t know if he’ll have a run before. If he gets into a rhythm (there), anything could happen. You just need a lot of luck.”
Tom George’s Boagrius (11-2) gave weight all round as he led all the way to take the Dan Frost Memorial Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase by half-a-length under Ciaran Gethings.
“He put his head down all the way to the line and was very gutsy,” said Gethings.
“They were coming at him from all angles in the straight. He took off a long way out two out – but once over that, he just kept on galloping. It was a good weight-carrying performance.”
Night Of Sin’s jumping won the day as he ground out victory in the Sileby Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.
Sam Twiston-Davies soon got the Nick Williams-trained grey into a rhythm, and the 6-4 favourite stuck on well to hold the challenge of Pique Rock by a neck.
“He jumped really nicely. He was good and sharp, even when he was in tight. He got from A to B very quickly, and that helped when they were challenging,” said Twiston-Davies.
The Michael Scudamore-trained Northern Beau (7-4) put up a sound display when making most of the running to open her account under rules in the in the Daniel Lambert Mares’ Handicap Chase in the hands of Richie McLernon.
“I just said to Michael that cheekpieces might help her. She was a bit slow to jump off – but once I gave her a belt, she was bang on straight away,” said McLernon.
Waitinonasunnyday (6-1) outpointed Cranbrook Causeway by a length and a half after the pair dominated proceedings in the Squire Osbaldeston Handicap Chase.
Jockey Jonathan Burke felt Michael Blake’s six-year-old benefited from being ridden prominently.
He said: “He won with plenty up his sleeve, and perhaps could do with wearing cheekpieces in time.
“He loves this ground and could be one for a summer campaign.”
Luke Harvey, former jump jockey turned TV presenter, was denied victory with Drumlynn, who was headed in the last stride and lost by a nose to Richard Edwards’ Asangy (10-1) in the Cottesmore ‘Grassroots’ Maiden Hunter Chase.
“He looked the winner all the way. He’s got done on the line but has run very well,” said Harvey.
Ironically, the judge who called the result was Harvey’s former partner, Emily Jones.